Wednesday, February 21, 2007
Way overdue. Here is an index of all the entries in last year’s Anglican Bloggers Lenten Devotional Series which we hosted here on Lent & Beyond. Entries are listed in chroniogical order as they were originally posted.
Captain Yips: Making Room in Our Imaginations for God
Karen B: Seek the Lord and Live
This is excerpted from the Rev. Matt Kennedy’s 2005 parish newsletter article What to Give up for Lent?. Very practical advice. Before adopting some rote Lenten discipline, take time today to pray and ask the Lord what discipline will accomplish His purposes in your life this season.
So, rather than thinking about what vice to give up or what discipline to add, a better place to start is prayer. Ask God to search your heart and bring to your mind those habits of thought, word, and/or deed that displease him most. (Sometimes what is displeasing in your life will be so obvious that you won’t even need to pray, you’ll just know. The Holy Spirit living inside you will have made it abundantly clear already). When you ask this in sincerity you can be sure that God will provide you with an answer.
This answer will tell you whether you need to add a discipline or be rid of a behavior or attitude. If, for example you believe that God wants you to be more committed to studying scripture, then you should probably consider adding personal or group bible study to your routine. If on the other hand you believe God is displeased with the amount of time you spend on the internet or the kinds of things you look at on-line, then you should probably consider cutting out or down on your computer usage or installing some parental control program to keep you accountable (even if, especially if, you’re a parent).
In other words, your Lenten discipline should not be arbitrary. If you have a problem with lust, don’t give up chocolate. Give up whatever it is that leads you into lustful behavior. And don’t just give it up for Lent, use Lent to give it up forever. Let the Lord know that you are committed to turning from the sin he has shown you and then ask him to help you in your task though the power of his Holy Spirit.
Last year I compiled a list of some of the most helpful Ash Wednesday resources and meditations I had found online.
I may try to add new material today, But for now: here’s the link for last year’s compilation.
Last year’s Ash Wednesday Devotional entry is here.
A blessed and holy Lent to all our readers!
The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him, and said, “Behold! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!” (John 1:29)
Holy Spirit, please help us this Lent to know Jesus as the one who has come to take away our sins. Bring us to a new cleansing from sin in Jesus.
“This is he of whom I said, ‘After me comes a man who is preferred before me, for he was before me.’” (John 1:30)
Father, please help us to be like John: putting Jesus first before ourselves.
“I did not know him; but that he should be revealed to Israel, therefore I came baptizing with water.” (John 1:31)
Jesus, please let every baptism that takes place be an occasion for revealing you to the world.
And John bore witness, saying, “I saw the Spirit descending from heaven like a dove, and he remained upon him.” (John 1:32)
Holy Spirit, please help us see and recognize it for what it is when you are at work among us.
“I did not know him, but he who sent me to baptize with water said to me, ‘Upon whom you see the Spirit descending, and remaining on him, this is he who baptizes with the Holy Spirit.’” (John 1:33)
Jesus, I need, your church needs a fresh baptism in your Holy Spirit. Please come soon!
“And I have seen and testified that this is the Son of God.” (John 1:34)
Jesus, help us give the good testimony that you are the Son of God. Thank you.
Paul, a bondservant of God and an apostle of Jesus Christ, according to the faith of God’s elect and the acknowledgment of the truth which accords with godliness, (Titus 1:1)
Father, we pray for all those in apostolic ministry that according to the faith of God’s elect that they will acknowledge the truth that accords with godliness. These are days when “multitudes, multitudes are in the valley of decision! For your day is near in the valley of decision!” (From Joel 3:14) Please help the bishops of the Episcopal Church make the right decisions — soften their hearts.
in hope of eternal life which God, who cannot lie, promised before time began, (Titus 1:2)
Holy Spirit, please restore to all the bishops of the Episcopal Church the hope of eternal life.
but has in due time manifested His word through preaching, which was committed to me according to the commandment of God our Savior; (Titus 1:3)
Jesus, please help all our apostolic leadership through their preaching follow your commandments.
To Titus, a true son in our common faith: grace, mercy, and peace from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ our Savior. (Titus 1:4)
Father, help every bishop in the Episcopal Church be a true son in our common faith, let them receive your grace, mercy and peace. Thank you for raising up Bishop Bill as a true son in our common faith in this diocese.
You are Jehovah-nissi, The Lord my banner. You utterly put out the Amalekites from under the heavens. You war with our sins from generation to generation. War with my sin today, Lord. You are my victory. Defeat my iniquity! I am Your child and I am weak. Help me to overcome my weakness. I wish my life to be a sweet, sweet savor of Christ on earth. Amen.
Exodus 17:14-16, 2 Corinthians 2:14-16
On the last Sunday of Epiphany/Quinquagesima, we heard how Jesus took Peter, John and James away from the normal routines of the day, and gave them a vision of his glory.
Coming up on the First Sunday in Lent, we will hear that the Holy Spirit drove Jesus out into the wilderness to contend with Satan. Out there, Jesus practiced painful fidelity to his Father’s will and received angelic care as he took up his earthly ministry.
Our growth into the full stature of Christ includes times when God leads us out of “normal” life and up to mountain tops or down into deserts. He takes us aside and gives us more of Himself.
I think I can speak for all who post here in saying that we are not fortune cookies. You don’t just open us up and find a prayer ready to read. We can be just plain broken and empty. We can be useless, broken pots if we do not let God mend and refill us.
So, during Lent 2007, we will be posting quite a bit less and while we keep our Lenten disciplines. The rigors of the Primates’ Prayer Campaign were pronounced, and we thank all of you who shared them with us. We need some mending and refilling – and of course we will still be praying as the Episcopal Church struggles in its own spiritual wilderness.
I wanted to compose an eloquent prayer to launch us into Lent, but I just don’t have it in me. Let me fast from fascination with my own words and simply pray God’s word: The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Spirit be with you all. Amen. II Corinthians 13:14, NKJV
Given that we here at L&B are likely to be posting less frequently than in past Lenten seasons I thought it might be helpful if I compiled here a short list of a few other blogs we would highly recommend for Lenten meditations and devotional entries.
The two at the top of my list are:
Father Stephen Freeman’s Glory to God for All Things
The Continuum (Lent Category posts)
as I already have been bookmarking Lenten-themed posts from both of these blogs for the past few days.
Fr. Stephen Freeman has a reflection on Romans 12:1,2 which I find very striking as we enter Lent.
Here’s an excerpt:
To offer our bodies as a sacrifice, through fasting and prayer, is itself lifted up to the level of worship, and interestingly our “logike” worship (”spiritual” really is more accurate than “reasonable” as some render it). It is a struggle to fast, to present a “living” sacrifice. This is so much more than a “one time” offering – but stretches through the days and nights of this great season.
He then admonishes us not to be conformed to the world but to be transformed by the renewal of our mind (nous) which could easily be rendered “heart.” Fr. John Behr describes the passions, in his The Mystery of Christ, as “false perceptions,” our own misunderstanding of the body and its natural desires. Thus renewing our minds is an inner change in our perception of our self and our desires, or in the words of St. Irenaeus (quoted frequently by Behr) “the true understanding of things as they are, that is, of God and of human beings.”