Walking the Way of Lent through Storytelling with Bishop Porter Taylor

March 10, 2022 - April 7, 2022
This class will meet online every Thursday evening starting on March 10th and ending on April 7, 2022 for a total of five sessions from 7:00 - 8:00 p.m. eastern.

Lent is less a season to observe and more a walk to walk. As the days get longer and the light more accessible, so are we invited to cast aside all that gets between us and resurrection. One theologian commented, “Everything that happens to Christ happens to us.” In that sense, the Bible is a road map for us to follow indicating the terrain of our journey with Christ and in Christ and to Christ. Therefore, these sessions are intended to help us discover how we can consciously walk the way of Lent. Each week we will focus on one of the readings from the Lenten lectionary from the previous Sunday. However, our intent is to discover how we are invited to live this Lenten journey in our own lives. This is not a Bible study; this is a community sharing how they have walked and are walking the Lenten pilgrimage by engaging a particular theme embedded in a scripture lesson for that Sunday.

Each session will begin with a short talk about the theme of the week often using poetry and then Bishop Taylor will model what he will ask you to do by telling a story of his own life that connects with the theme. Then, you will go into small breakout groups to share our stories and lastly come back together for a plenary. The writer John Shea wrote, “We turn our pain into narrative so we can bear it. We turn our ecstasy into narrative so we can prolong it. We tell our stories to live.” Bishop TaylorI looks forward to being with you as we walk more intentionally into a sacred Lent.

Course Outline

Session One: March 10, 2022—Temptations

Focus Text: Luke 4:1-13 The Christian journey is a series of lost and found. We lose our way and then are called back to The Way. What are our temptations that pull us from being who we are created to be and doing the work we are called to do? How have we battled those?

Session Two: March 17, 2022 – Covenant

Focus Text: Genesis 15:1-12,17-18 Our covenant with God is our understanding of the life we have promised to live in order to be an instrument of God’s mission. What are the promises/pledges you have made in terms of how you will live? Think of what shapes your treatment of other people or the ways in which you have ordered your lives.

Session Three: March 24 – Repentance

Focus Text: Luke 13:1-9 Jesus tells the Galileans, I tell you; but unless you repent, you will all perish….” Repentance is not about feeling guilty or beating up on oneself. The Greek word is “Metanoia” which means “to go beyond the mind you have.” To repent is to catch a glimpse of who God is calling you to be and then to walk towards that vision. What’s the vision God has for God’s children and God’s creation?

Session Four: March 31 – To Come to One’s self

Focus Text: Luke 15:1-3, 11b-32 “If anyone is in Christ, there is a new creation.” Luke writes that the Prodigal Son, “came to himself” and began his journey towards home. When have you lost your way and been pulled to move to where God is calling you? What does it take to step into the in between land with only the divine promise?

Session Five: April 7 – Resurrection

Focus Text: Philippians 3:4b-14 Paul writes, “I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection.” What does resurrection look life for you and for this world? When Isaiah writes, “I am about to do a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it?” what is the newness you long for—for yourself, your local context, and for our world? What does it mean to know the power of Christ’s resurrection in a time of skepticism and disillusionment?

Recommended Text: Lent with Evelyn Underhill, edited by G.P. Mellick Belshaw

Optional Text: Hearing God in Poetry: 50 Poems for Lent and Easter by Richard Harris

Please contact us if cost limits your participation.

Bishop Porter Taylor was ordained a priest in 1994 in the Diocese of Western North Carolina. From 1994-96, he served as Assistant Rector of St. Paul’s Church in Franklin, Tenn. He then served as Rector of St. Gregory the Great in Athens, Ga., from 1996-2004. In 2004, he was consecrated the sixth Bishop of the Diocese of Western North Carolina. Following his retirement as Bishop in 2016, he joined the faculty of Wake Forest University Divinity School. Bishop Taylor joined the Diocese of Virginia as Assisting Bishop on July 1, 2020.

In addition to his Master of Divinity from University of the South, Sewanee, Bishop Taylor also holds a B.A. in English from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, an M.A. in English from the University of South Carolina, and a Ph.D. in Theology and Literature from Emory University. He is the author of To Dream as God Dreams: Sermons of Hope, Conversion, and Community, and From Anger to Zion: An Alphabet of Faith.