Welcome to Lent Online! The image above is a prayer path called a labyrinth, used as a symbol of our journey with prayer during Lent. Each Tuesday afternoon you will find a new Lenten Devotion posted here. This week’s prayer practice: praying through movement. This prayer practice is great for kinesthetic learners as it involves trying out different positions to read scripture or talk with God. [Check out the practices of examen (#1)and self-examination/confession (#2).] 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
In preparation, 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.
Scenario – Close your eyes for a moment and imagine you’ve lost your job of 28 years due to a corporate scandal causing your company to suddenly go bankrupt and go out of business. Having fallen into deep chronic depression and mental illness after having suffered a nervous breakdown, you’re not quite well enough to find another job, not to mention you no longer have medical insurance. Your car was repossessed, you lost your home and your family has abandoned you blaming you for your sudden misfortune.
Exercise – Take a 8 ½” by 11” sheet of paper and write on it in big letters: “I’m homeless and I lost everything – Please help.” Embrace this scenario for yourself and imagine the many feelings associated with being in such a predicament. It’s 2:30am and it’s the middle of a February winter. You’re alone, riding on a subway line until 4am until the route ends at 4am. You exit the line and ride the Metro Bus until 8:30am. You’re hungry and it’s time to go to work and beg for money.
- Hold silently for 1 minute the sign in your hands as if you were if you were standing on a traffic corner and then imagine the thoughts and feelings you might encounter in this scenario.
- How might your current situation affect your relationship with God?
- Imagine your stomach growling in hunger, what emotions do you think would come to mind?
- Do you know or have you met someone who was mentally ill or homeless?
- Do you know someone who’s not homeless but being supported by a family member?
Ponder – As a reminder of God’s faithfulness in the midst of life’s many changing seasons, listen or sing Great is Thy Faithfulness: http://www.bing.com/videos/search?q=great+is+thy+faithfulness&view=detail&mid=BCFF3419E18AE9231EA0BCFF3419E18AE9231EA0&FORM=VIRE1
Read – Job 3:1-26 and Job 8:1-22
- Can you imagine the pain and anguish of Job you just read in the 1st passage? How does it compare with your thoughts and feelings about this current homeless scenario?
- Job’s friends were quite critical of Job as you can see in chapter 8. Have you ever found yourself critical of the homeless and/or the mentally ill?
Silent reflection/Practicing Empathetic Prayer and Compassion –
Reflect silently for 5-10 minutes thinking about anyone you may or may not know who is homeless. Ask yourself the following questions (and feel free you create some questions of your own):
- Would God be pleased with my thoughts and attitudes about the homeless and the down trodden?
- How have I fallen short in my prayers and concerns for those who are homeless or who have very little?
- What can I do possibly to make any difference in the lives of those less fortunate than myself on a daily, weekly or monthly basis?
Pray–As you hold up your homeless sign, pray for:
- The homeless in Baltimore city, Baltimore County, Anne Arundel County, Harford County, and other areas of Maryland.
- The city and county legislatures in each of these counties that they would be more sensitive towards the problem areas of homelessness and mental illness.
- The state of Maryland and its elected officials to be more proactive in the aid and assistance to those who are homeless and mentally ill.
- Yourself, and that God would use you to be a blessing to someone in transition who has lost everything. May you be given the wisdom and resources, not necessarily to help everyone, but perhaps to do what you can for maybe just one person who’s suffering from homelessness and/or mental illness.