The Sacred in the Unfamiliar
Katie Harmon-McLaughlin of Independence, MO, USA
Those of steadfast mind you keep in peace-
in peace because they trust in you. -Isaiah 26:3
During Lent, we will share a story to dwell on throughout the week with questions for reflection. This slow, repeated practice of sacred reading and reflection is an invitation to simplicity and deepening during the Lenten season.
We are quick to resist what we do not know, but there are gifts to discover here. We remember that the season of Lent is a critical formational opportunity to be steeped in the wisdom, depth, and integrity of Jesus that leads to new life. We try to bypass the wilderness places in our spiritual journey to get to the “good parts” like resurrection, but good things happen here, too! The Israelites receive enough manna for each day, the prophet Isaiah envisions a desert in full bloom, and after Jesus resists the temptations, he is comforted and cared for.
What if this Lent we rested for a while in this wilderness place to take a look around and appreciate what is here? What if we stopped trying to get through the wilderness to somewhere else and began to recognize the sacred abundance in unfamiliar places? What if being formed in the rhythm of Christ isn’t just about enduring the parts of the journey we’d rather avoid, but entering them deeply with an open and willing heart? Moving toward Jesus, the peaceful one, entails following him through the whole journey of transformation-and discovering in what we resist the deepest invitations to new life we have been seeking.
Lenten Reflection Questions:
- What gifts may be waiting in what you resist?
- Where do you sense the Spirit’s presence when you pay attention to what is instead of trying to be somewhere else?
I surrender into your love, O God.
Lenten Spiritual Practices
Moving Toward the Peaceful One
As Jesus was nearing the final days of his life, he wept over the city and proclaimed, “If you, even you, had only recognized on this day the things that make for peace” (Luke 19:41-42).What are the things that make for peace in our lives, communities, and around the world? During the Lenten season, spend time in silent refection or journaling each day to notice: Am I moving toward Jesus, the peaceful One? Pay attention to your attitudes, actions, and relationships this day. When did you most embody the peaceful One in your daily living? When were your thoughts or actions contrary to the peace of Jesus Christ? How might Jesus, the peaceful One, who is always near to you, be inviting you to draw nearer to him through your daily living?
Fasting and Giving-$40 in 40 Days
A Lenten fast gives us an opportunity to make space in our lives so that God can live in and through us. It’s a time to evaluate what we hunger for most and what we consume. This year, we’ve been invited to tithe as a spiritual practice by setting aside $40 during the 40 days of Lent. If you are participating, pay attention today to the dollar you have given. What might you have done with that dollar otherwise? How does Lenten generosity invite you to reflect on what is “enough” in your life? Who might you invite to join you in this practice? How might your gift be magnified by the many others responding to the same call?
You can make your $40 offering anytime during the Lenten season online or through your offering envelope for Worldwide Mission Tithes.
Today’s Prayer for Peace
Engage in a daily practice of praying for peace in our world. Click here to read today’s prayer and be part of this practice of peace.