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, a labyrinth (prayer walk), reminds us of the journey toward God we have been taking this Lent. We invite you to make use of this Lenten Devotion 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 and center yourself with a breath prayer. 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: My Own Little World.(https://youtu.be/M9Yasgzjc0w).
React to the song:
- What did you like about it? What didn’t you like about it?
- What, if anything, bothered you about the song/video?
- What, if anything, challenged you?
- What, if anything, moved you?
- What does your own little world look like?
- How do you step out of your own little world?
This week we will be trying the practice of Prayer through Conversation, which is different from the dialogue prayer of week 4. This is the practice of engaging in a conversation with someone you wouldn’t ordinarily speak with – a neighbor you don’t know, someone in your workplace with whom you don’t generally get along, even someone you pass on the street or someone who serves you in a store/restaurant – and listening for how the Spirit might be speaking or moving through the words of the other.
Read John 4:1-42.
Reflect on the reading:
How do Jesus and the Samaritan woman cross boundaries or move outside of what might be comfortable in this reading?
How does Jesus initiate this conversation? How might this inform our own attempts to initiate conversation?
How does Jesus communicate love in this exchange?
How does Jesus challenge the woman?
What might all of this suggest about how God might convey love to us and challenge us through the words of others?
The Practice: As you approach each new location or situation throughout your week, say a prayer asking God to open you to the movement of the Spirit. When you are able, step outside of your comfort zone and have a conversation with someone you don’t know well. You could ask them how their day is going, what brought them to the neighborhood (or this job) and how they like it or another question that invites them to share a story. You may wish to offer something of your own story in return. As you speak with them, listen for words that convey the love of God or words that might challenge you to grow as a disciple or act with greater love and justice. Thank the person, then thank God as you walk away.
Challenge: Over the last weeks we’ve moved from contemplation to action. This week we get out in the world and actually listen to our neighbors. If you’re up for a challenge to delve even deeper into working for justice, consider asking these questions:
- what do you love about your neighborhood (job, community)?
- What concerns do you have about your neighborhood (job, community)?
- What would you like to see change in you neighborhood/job/community in the next few years?
- What might it take to bring about that change?
As you leave, invite God to help you understand how you might take part in bringing healing or change to this situation.