WEEK 2 - REFLECTIONS
Compassion in Action
I do hope and pray that you are finding our daily reflections are a blessing to you as we journey through Lent together.
READ Mark 1:40-45
A leper came to him begging him, and kneeling he said to him, 'If you choose, you can make me clean.'
Moved with pity, Jesus stretched out his hand and touched him, and said to him, 'I do choose. Be made clean!'
Immediately the leprosy left him, and he was made clean.
After sternly warning him he sent him away at once, saying to him, 'See that you say nothing to anyone; but go, show yourself to the priest, and offer for your cleansing what Moses commanded, as a testimony to them.'
But he went out and began to proclaim it freely, and to spread the word, so that Jesus could no longer go into a town openly, but stayed out in the country; and people came to him from every quarter.
Jesus knows his need of God: his life reflects his poverty of spirit. Jesus' life also reflects his grief at the pain and distress in the world.
In this passage and many others, Jesus is deeply moved by the suffering of others. Something stirs deep within. We will go on to read of his love for poor and rich, for Gentiles and Jews, for old and young, for men and women, for sinners and for the righteous.
That love is often shown in his tears, in mourning and frustration which springs from compassion. The compassion is expressed first in the gift of attention: turning aside from this day's tasks to understand another's distress. The compassion becomes then prayer and practical help – bringing hope and good news.
God enters into the pain of our world through the tears of his Son. Through those tears we understand God's love for all who experience pain and loss in every age and land.
As you spend time in God's presence now, can you ask God to bring to mind a situation or person that has moved you to action recently and offer it (or them) to God?
Given you are moved by this need, it is likely that it was God who planted the prayerful concern in your heart in the first place. Give thanks for God's care in prayer today.
Day 11 in Lent Reflection
Today is Sunday and, if you are following a Lenten fast, it is a day that is not a prescribed day of fast and abstinence. May you have a blessed day, Revd Karen
When we’re not at church, sometimes we just need short, simple prayers to remain close to God during our busy days.
Lent is no different.Here are some easy prayers you can say to feel connected to God during Lent this year:
• “God, may Your light guide my day, and your spirit bring me peace. Amen.”
• “God, may my sacrifice of today of (state your Lenten sacrifice) remind me of my dependence on You for all the blessings I enjoy. Amen.”
• ”May I stand in solidarity today with all my brothers and sisters around the world who are suffering. May we be united in your love, and may I work to build your kingdom here on earth.”
• “Heavenly Father, I’m truly sorry for the moments today where I missed the mark. I ask for your forgiveness and the strength to better follow Your call tomorrow. Amen.”
• ”God, I lift up (name of the person you’d like to pray for) today. I ask that you bless them abundantly today and throughout Lent. Amen.”
• “Oh Jesus, I surrender myself to you, take care of everything. Amen.”
Just as short prayers can help enrich our faith lives during Lent, Bible passages can also help us reflect on and draw meaning from the season.
And as with short prayers, just because a Bible verse is not long or complex does not mean it lacks substance. Some of the most powerful scriptures or Sermons in the Bible and directly from Jesus are a few simple words such as the 7 last words of Christ. (Link back to #Pray40)
You can also consider these short Bible verses to reflect on this Lent:
“Then Job replied to the Lord: 2 “I know that you can do all things; no purpose of yours can be thwarted. 3 You asked, ‘Who is this that obscures my plans without knowledge?’ Surely I spoke of things I did not understand, things too wonderful for me to know. 4 “You said, ‘Listen now, and I will speak; I will question you, and you shall answer me.’ 5 My ears had heard of you but now my eyes have seen you. 6 Therefore I despise myself and repent in dust and ashes.”
Job 42: 1-6
Day 12 in Lent
‘The Beautiful Attitudes’
The Beatitudes, the incredible manifesto from Jesus recorded in the Sermon on the Mount, lay out a guide for a radical way of life, and an invitation to wrestle with the 'what' and the 'why' and the 'how' of what it means to be human. Why not say these words every day during Lent.
Blessed are the poor in spirit,
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are those who mourn,
for they will be comforted.
Blessed are the meek,
for they will inherit the earth.
Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness,
for they will be filled.
Blessed are the merciful,
for they will be shown mercy.
Blessed are the pure in heart,
for they will see God.
Blessed are the peacemakers,
for they will be called children of God.
Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness,
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Lenten Poem by Ann Weems
Lent is a time to take time to let the power
of our faith story take hold of us,
a time to let the events get up
and walk around in us,
a time to intensify our living unto Christ,
a time to hover over the thoughts of our hearts,
a time to place our feet in the streets of
Jerusalem or to walk along the sea and
listen to his Word,
a time to touch his robe
and feel the healing surge through us,
a time to ponder and a time to wonder….
Lent is a time to allow
a fresh new taste of God!
Perhaps we’re afraid to have time to think,
for thoughts come unbidden.
Perhaps we’re afraid to face our future
knowing our past.
Give us courage, O God,
to hear your Word
and to read our living into it.
Give us the trust to know we’re forgiven
and give us the faith
to take up our lives and walk.
Lent Prayer for Strength and Guidance
Lord God Almighty, shaper and ruler of all creatures, we pray for your great mercy, that you guide us towards you, for we cannot find our way.
And guide us to your will, to the need of our soul, for we cannot do it ourselves. And make our mind steadfast in your will and aware of our soul’s need.
Strengthen us against the temptations of the devil, and remove from us all lust and every unrighteousness, and shield us against our foes, seen and unseen.
Teach us to do your will, that we may inwardly love you before all things with a pure mind. For you are our maker and our redeemer, our help, our comfort, our trust, our hope; praise and glory be to you now and forever. Amen
Day 13 in Lent Reflection
Jesus' way of life often goes against the grain of what the world is telling us. But don't confuse meekness with weakness...
Jesus is poor in spirit, knowing his need of God. He mourns with compassion for the pain of the world.
This third face of the portrait takes us to a third quality at the heart of the character of Jesus: humility. Jesus stands in the long line of servants of God which stretches back to Moses, who was 'more humble than anyone on the face of the earth' (Numbers 14.2).
As we will see, Jesus models meekness and the way of a servant throughout the gospels. Jesus commends the life of service to his disciples.
The early Church was quick to see humility at the very heart of God's Son becoming a person: 'he emptied himself, taking the form of a slave, being born in human likeness' (Philippians 2.7).
Meekness is not to be confused with weakness, however. There is real strength in Jesus, combined with humility before God and others.
Humility ('meekness') is offered to us as a gift. Ultimately things rest in God's hands, and we are called to trust.
Can you give some of your burdens to God in prayer today, knowing that it's God's will for us to walk in simple faith with him through the day?
Day 14 in Lent Reflection
Do you find it easier to offer service or receive it? Jesus serves his disciples in the offer of cleansing and forgiveness, in daily friendship and care, in modelling the good and life-giving way.
READ John 13:1-15
Now before the festival of the Passover, Jesus knew that his hour had come to depart from this world and go to the Father. Having loved his own who were in the world, he loved them to the end.
The devil had already put it into the heart of Judas son of Simon Iscariot to betray him.
And during supper Jesus, knowing that the Father had given all things into his hands, and that he had come from God and was going to God, got up from the table, took off his outer robe, and tied a towel around himself.
Then he poured water into a basin and began to wash the disciples' feet and to wipe them with the towel that was tied around him.
He came to Simon Peter, who said to him, 'Lord, are you going to wash my feet?' Jesus answered, 'You do not know now what I am doing, but later you will understand.' Peter said to him, 'You will never wash my feet.'
Jesus answered, 'Unless I wash you, you have no share with me.' Simon Peter said to him, 'Lord, not my feet only but also my hands and my head!'
Jesus said to him, 'One who has bathed does not need to wash, except for the feet, but is entirely clean. And you are clean, though not all of you.' For he knew who was to betray him; for this reason he said, 'Not all of you are clean.'
After he had washed their feet, had put on his robe, and had returned to the table, he said to them, 'Do you know what I have done to you? You call me Teacher and Lord—and you are right, for that is what I am. So if I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another's feet. For I have set you an example, that you also should do as I have done to you.
It is an extraordinary moment. John tells us that Jesus knows 'that the Father has given all things into his hands'. This is God the Son dwelling among us. How does God the Son show us what God is like?
He ties a towel around himself, pours water into a basin and begins to wash the disciples' feet. Extraordinary service in a remarkable moment – Jesus' last meal with his disciples before he is crucified.
This is what God's love means. Jesus serves and ministers to his disciples in the offer of cleansing and forgiveness, in daily friendship and care, in modelling the good and life-giving way.
John invites us to hold together in our minds the God who created the heavens and the earth and the gentle teacher kneeling at the feet of his friends at the end of a long and tiring day. They are one and the same.
It can often be easier to offer service than receive it.
Can you imagine Jesus kneeling before you and bathing your feet, in a deliberate act of love for you? How might this feel?