"And you shall take to you on the first day the fruits of the fairest tree, and branches of palm trees, and boughs of thick trees, and willows of the brook: And you shall rejoice before the Lord your God." – Leviticus 23:40 "Jesus found a donkey and sat upon it, as Scripture says: Do not fear, city of Zion! See, your king is coming, sitting on the colt of a donkey!" - John 12:14 "No pain, no palm; no thorns, no throne; no gall, no glory; no cross, no crown." - William Penn Remember Palm Sunday tells us... its the [...]
“Cowards live for the sake of living, but for heroes, life is a weapon, a thing to be spent, a gift to be given to the weak and the lost and the weary, even to the foolish and the cowardly” Empire of Bones by N D Wilson 1 Dark nights provoke dark questions. The care of the soul matters. 2 Fiction writing that will shape your theology. A great list here. 3 Questions that lead us well to Easter Day. Provocative stuff. 4 Confessions of flawed pastoral leadership. Wise stuff. 5 Seven things that keep life simple. Helpfully so!
Lent invites us to join Christ on the way of the Cross. It’s an intentional season of reflection and meditation. Even more, we’re challenged to arrange our lives in such a way as to be daily frustrated. Let me explain. We can each most easily default to comfort and convenience, we’re often unaware of how we live to feel good about ourselves, to gain affirmation, to exert influence, to secure our own pleasure or just to satisfy our immediate needs. Lent invites us to intentionally frustrate ourselves. This is an invitation to less. A season of deprivation which actually makes [...]
"Lent is the time for greater love, listen to Jesus' thirst... 'Repent and believe' Jesus tells us. What are we to repent? Our indifference, our hardness of heart. What are we to believe? Jesus thirsts even now, in your heart and in the poor. He knows your weakness. He wants only your love, wants only the chance to love you." Teresa of Calcutta
“Beauty and affliction are the only two things that can pierce our hearts.” Simone Weil As I've reflected on the landscape of Lent, it presents itself as open, empty, deserted. Traditional lenten observance, following Christ into the wilderness, emphasizes relinquishment. Following the One who emptied himself, we give up a familiar pleasure or comfort for forty days until Easter. Alcohol, chocolate and meat are meant to be on standby, but these days it might be Facebook, twitter or gaming. Maybe with less clutter we’ll detox a bit and have a few more moments reaching toward God in prayer, study and reflection. That [...]
“O Lord, this holy season of Lent is passing quickly. I entered into it with fear, but also with great expectations. I hoped for a great breakthrough, a powerful conversion, a real change of heart; I wanted Easter to be a day so full of light that not even a trace of darkness would be left in my soul. But I know that you do not come to your people with thunder and lightning. Even St. Paul and St. Francis journeyed through much darkness before they could see your light. Let me be thankful for your gentle way. I know [...]
"Lent is the time for greater love, listen to Jesus' thirst...'Repent and believe' Jesus tells us. What are we to repent? Our indifference, our hardness of heart. What are we to believe? Jesus thirsts even now, in your heart and in the poor -- He knows your weakness. He wants only your love, wants only the chance to love you." Teresa of Calcutta
Over the past few years, I've really been helped by this beautiful poem by Madeleine L'Engle. 'For Lent, 1966' It is my Lent to break my Lent, To eat when I would fast, To know when slender strength is spent, Take shelter from the blast When I would run with wind and rain, To sleep when I would watch. It is my Lent to smile at pain But not ignore its touch. It is my Lent to listen well When I would be alone, To talk when I would rather dwell In silence, turn from none Who call on me, [...]
from Rachel Held Evans,..... 10 Questions to Ask Yourself. 1. When I wake up on Resurrection Sunday morning, how will I be different? 2. Is there a habit or sin in my life that repeatedly gets in the way of loving God with my whole heart or loving my neighbour as myself? How do I address that habit over the next 40 days? 3. Is there anyone in my life from whom I need to ask forgiveness or pursue reconciliation? 4. What practical steps can I take to carve out time for daily contemplation? 5. What spiritual discipline do I need [...]
a prayer used in a more orthodox tradition:- O Lord and Master of my life, Grant not unto me a spirit of idleness, of discouragement, of lust for power, and of vain speaking. But bestow upon me, Thy servant, the spirit of chastity, of meekness, of patience, and of love. Yea, O Lord and King, grant that I may perceive my own transgressions, and judge not my brother, for blessed art Thou unto ages of ages. Amen.