February 12, 2010

Let’s Live Lent

Lent is traditionally a time of fasting. The Scriptures remind us that the kind of fasting God asks of us is ‘to lose the chains of injustice, to undo the bonds of the yoke, to let the oppressed go free and to break every yoke’ (Isaiah 58:6). In this context, fasting is equated with practices of justice and the notion of release – themes which resonate deeply with our Mercy ideals and the Vision of MIA.

On each Wednesday of Lent this year, the MIA team is offering a Lenten luncheon series entitled ‘Soup and Substance’. Participants, while enjoying a complimentary bowl of soup, will be invited to look at some of the current injustices of our global society and explore together ways of responding that promote a more just and peace-filled world. The programme which is offered free is open to the public and welcomes in particular those in the local area who are on their lunch break at the time.

The main resource for the series is the DVD ‘Mercy and Justice shall Meet’. Six of the Key stories which will be used are case studies drawn from different parts of the Mercy world. Three themes underpin these stories: Violence against Women and Children, Racism in all its forms and Displacement of Peoples. A theological reflection process accompanies the stories, which facilitates an understanding of the context, a reflection with Scripture and the Tradition of Mercy and a commitment to action.

Why not consider replicating this programme in your own area? You may have the DVD or you might like to order it here. The process for next Wednesday’s programme is offered as a resource.


  1. Gathering, Welcome and Introduction to theme of the Day : ‘Violence to Empowerment’ (5 mins)
  2. Presentation: DVD on Domestic Violence and empowerment through Door Garden Project (2nd. Section on DVD. Purple Button 8mins)
  3. Create context for this story by showing fact sheet (orange button) and draw attention to statistics for Domestic Violence and women and Poverty in South Africa (2 mins)
  4. Allow time for discussion/analysis of story  (10 mins)
  5. Read Scripture passage: Mark 6: 34-37 and  provide short commentary (blue button) (5 mins)
    Mercy Wisdom
    Catherine McAuley pursued her Mission of Mercy, daily responding to the words of Christ ‘As long as you did it to one of the least of my brothers, you did it to Me,’ (Matthew 25:40). From this stemmed her whole hearted service of Christ in the poor. (Angela Bolster)
  6. Quiet reflection on the Word ( 5mins)
  7. Engaging the Story:  10/15 mins  ( Provide handouts with the following prompts)
    • What do you feel called to do as a response to your engagement with this story
    - At a personal level
    - In  your sphere of influence
    - At a financial level
    • Personal Action: You might like to respond with an action that is a change
    - Of attitude
    - Of heart
    - Of mind
    - Of policy
    - Of funding priorities
    Or you might want to join with others in prayer for the people of this story.

• Have ready a pack of Prayer commitment slips
• Leave a donation box available

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