Archives for posts with tag: preparation

Scripture

Matthew 26: 30-35download (1)

30 When they had sung the hymn, they went out to the Mount of Olives.  31 Then Jesus said to them, “You will all become deserters because of me this night; for it is written, ‘I will strike the shepherd, and the sheep of the flock will be scattered.’  32 But after I am raised up, I will go ahead of you to Galilee.”

33 Peter said to him, “Though all become deserters because of you, I will never desert you.”

34 Jesus said to him, “Truly I tell you, this very night, before the cock crows, you will deny me three times.”

35 Peter said to him, “Even though I must die with you, I will not deny you.” And so said all the disciples.

 

Reflection

What, I wonder, is behind Peter’s vehement denial that he will never desert  Jesus?   Is it — at that moment — the fervent feeling of devotion that he has for Jesus?   Is it — at that moment — the strength of his faith?   Or is it, I wonder, his pride?   Jesus has just poked all the disciples in the chest and predicted their failure to be true to him.   Peter, in a jingoistic  response, doubles down, pledging that  not only will he not desert Jesus, he’ll die with him.   These declarations, however, will soon dissipate like steam in the evening breeze.

 

Prayer

Dear Lord,

Strengthen us, we pray, for the long journey.

Strengthen us for the challenges that we will face;  for the tests to our faith;  for the urge to flee instead of stand by your side when the cost of discipleship becomes apparent.

Amen

Monastery Windows

Scripture — Luke 18:15-17

People were bringing even infants to him that he might touch them; and when the disciples saw it, they sternly ordered them not to do it.  But Jesus called for them and said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not stop them; for it is to such as these that the kingdom of God belongs. Truly I tell you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God as a little child will never enter it.”

Prayer:

Dear Lord,

Sometimes we might find ourselves in the disciples’ shoes, screening who should or should not be able to come to you.  We might even think at times that we ourselves aren’t worthy enough to come to you.  But you welcome all, including the little children.   Help us to toss aside our reserve and to run to you, arms outstretched, so like a parent to a child, you might swing us through the air and into your loving arms.  Amen

Note to the readers of these Lenten devotionals.   Every three days throughout Lent, I will be using a cycle of postings — first a gospel reading, then a Psalm, and then some other sacred writing (outside the Bible) — all followed by a prayer.  Today, the writing is by Barrie Shepherd, previous pastor of Swathmore Presbyterian Church, and is drawn from his text “A Diary of Prayer — Daily Meditations on the Parables of Jesus.”

Monastery Windows

The Pharisee and the Publican

Lord, so much of my praying never rises above the ceiling of whatever room I happen to be in.  Just like this smug, self satisfied Pharisee who ‘prayed thus with himself,’ I too find most of my attempts at prayer to be a tedious monologue, not an open-ended dialogue in which listening plays at least as large a part as speaking.

Oh yes, I do address my prayers to you, invoke your holy name at all the decent and regular intervals.  But then I proceed to drown you out, swamp your still small voice with all my wants, my needs, my successes and failures, my likes and dislikes, fears and prejudices.

Lead me Lord, by quiet untrod paths, into that full and open, simple conversation with you.  Teach me to listen patiently, not fill my brain and crowding lips with hurried, formal prayers or scattered thoughts.  Let me be afraid no longer of your truth, your judgment, your call to lose myself in finding.   Free my praying from all petty tyrannies of wristwatch, diary, and calendar.  Help me to treasure this experience of timelessness, these daily snatches of eternity given to be sampled, foretasted in your presence.  And thus deepen me, and broaden me, for the work you give me to do.

Prayer

Dear God of amazing grace,

Take me by the hand as I still my life in this time of prayer.

Let me dwell in you, rest in you, rely upon you, find my new life in you

as I walk this Lenten journey to the shadow of the cross — and beyond.

Amen

 

Monastery WindowsScripture — From Morning Psalm 27

1 The LORD is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear?
The LORD is the stronghold of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?

3 Though an army encamp against me, my heart shall not fear;
though war rise up against me, yet I will be confident.

4 One thing I asked of the LORD,  that will I seek after:
to live in the house of the LORD all the days of my life,
to behold the beauty of the LORD, and to inquire in his temple.

5 For he will hide me in his shelter in the day of trouble;
he will conceal me under the cover of his tent;
he will set me high on a rock.

Do not turn your servant away in anger, you who have been my help.
Do not cast me off, do not forsake me, O God of my salvation!
10 If my father and mother forsake me, the LORD will take me up.

13 I believe that I shall see the goodness of the LORD in the land of the living.
14 Wait for the LORD; be strong, and let your heart take courage; wait for the LORD!

Prayer:

Dear Lord,

Sometimes it feels as though we too spend time in the wilderness, tempted, and dealing with those who challenge us (rightly or wrongly).  But you do set us upon a high rock, you are our stronghold.  Give us strength this day to live boldly, without fear, but marked by your love.   Amen

Welcome to our Lenten devotional!  On each of the 40 days of Lent (that’s each day between today and Easter except Sundays), I’ll post a scripture and a prayer as we walk together through this season of repentance.

Monastery Windows

Lenten Scripture — Gospel Luke 18:9-14

9He also told this parable to some who trusted in themselves that they were righteous and regarded others with contempt: 10“Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. 11The Pharisee, standing by himself, was praying thus, ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other people: thieves, rogues, adulterers, or even like this tax collector. 12I fast twice a week; I give a tenth of all my income.’ 13But the tax collector, standing far off, would not even look up to heaven, but was beating his breast and saying, ‘God, be merciful to me, a sinner!’ 14I tell you, this man went down to his home justified rather than the other; for all who exalt themselves will be humbled, but all who humble themselves will be exalted.”

Lenten Prayer

Dear Lord,

As we begin this Lenten season, may the hunger I feel today become a hunger for you in my life.  Help us to turn to you, full of the knowledge of our own sin, but mindful of your abiding grace and mercy.   Amen