Welcome to Lent Online!
Each Tuesday afternoon you will find a new Lenten Devotion posted here. Together we will explore a different prayer practice each week. The image above is a prayer path called a labyrinth, used as a symbol of our journey with prayer during Lent. We invite you to make use of Lent Online when and where your schedule permits…spread it out through the week, select one day to make time to experience the entire devotion, or even repeat it several times as you desire.
–Your Lent Online partners,
Rev. Jennifer Barchi, Rev. Ron Hankins, Rev. Deborah McEachran
Put aside any concerns about work or home. Turn off the electronics. Find a quiet, comfortable place to be. Agree with God that you will spend at least ____ minutes together.
In preparation for today’s prayer practice, take several deep breaths. As you breathe in, think “Jesus Christ, Son of God“, and as you breathe out, think “have mercy on me–a sinner.” This is called a breath prayer because you say it in time with your breathing. Repeat this prayer several times as you let go of the busy-ness and rush of your day. Let go of your anxieties, your fears, all that you have to do, and all that you haven’t done as you focus on your breath. When you feel ready, listen to the song White as Snow by clicking on the following link– https://youtu.be/Gh3cO1rTtqE. This song is based on Psalm 51, a psalm of confession.
This week we will be trying the practice of self-examination and confession. Whether we’ve been in the church for a long time or only a short time, we’ve all had experiences with confession. Spend a moment reflecting on how you feel about confession— does it carry positive or negative emotions for you? What are they? What good or bad experiences have you had with confession in the past?
Read John 10:1-10. In John 10:10, Jesus says that he came that we might have life and have it abundantly. What does this mean to you? How can confession lead you to a more abundant experience of life? Why is confession an important part of our discipleship?
As we move into meditation, remind yourself of the story of the prodigal son (Luke 15:11-32) and how it shows God’s promise to us: that we are loved and forgiven abundantly, no matter what. It is this promise that offers us the safety to be honest with ourselves and about ourselves to God.
(If you are a visual learner, it may help to draw or write as you move through this time. If you are a kinesthetic learner, it may help to have play-doh or prayer beads to feel. If you are an auditory learner, it may help to share this meditation with a trusted friend.)
–As you breathe, imagine that you are being surrounded by the love and presence of God, who wants you to have life and life abundant.
–When you feel secure in God’s love, invite the Holy Spirit to lead you to memories of interactions, relationships, or events that are a source of guilt, anxiety, fear or shame for you. Invite the Spirit to lead you to memories of times when you felt defensive.
–As you consider these moments, try not to judge yourself but honestly evaluate– what was your brokenness in these moments or how did you contribute to the situation? In what ways did you stray from living the way that Christ calls you to live?
–If you feel up to it, consider what led you to act in these ways. Were you feeling insecure, inadequate or afraid? Were you trying to protect a wounded part of yourself? Did brokenness from another part of your life spill into the moment?
–Invite Christ to heal these places of brokenness within you; invite Christ to take the burden of guilt and shame as he guides you to deeper and more abundant life.
–Close by resting in the loving presence of God, remembering the promise of your baptism–that u are forgiven and accepted. Touch your hand to water as a physical reminder of your baptism.
Challenge: Confession and Justice: we know that our own stories of being on the receiving end of injustice can motivate us to work for justice in the world – but it’s also possible for our stories of being the perpetrator of injustice to motivate that justtice work. For example, noticing the times when your own unconscious bias has motivated your actions can motivate you to correct that in your own life and help others to overcome their bias as well. Think of a story of a time when you, in some way, acted unjustly. How can this story fuel your justice work here and now?