Prayer Table Reports

February 28, 2009

      PRAYER TABLE REPORT #1
(Sat., Feb. 28, 2009; at Christ Church in Schenectady.)

First “shift:” Torre Bissell and Deacon Alan Hart, 9:30-10:30 a.m.

      Note: Very windy, bone-chilling cold morning around 20 degrees at the start; many people this morning passed by not wishing to receive prayer. Most of them were polite, others just ignored us. It was like “pulling teeth” to have people come to the Lord today, unfortunately. But … that’s the way of it sometimes.

a–indicates anointed with Holy Oil.
t–indicates received wooden cross made by Dennis Adams of North Carolina.
c–indicates received a yellow church info card.

JAMES — A Prayer Table regular, James was on his way to his church’s Saturday morning service and stopped by to be prayed for and also to pray for us.

PAT (Frank Upshur’s daughter) — Pat, too, is a regular and a blessing to Torre and Alan. She asked for general prayer for her family, then asked for special prayer for KEITH, her nephew who just got a good job but has not been taking his medicine for high blood pressure. We prayed that he will remember to take this important medicine. Pat also said that Frank is “doing fine” after having a battle with kidney stones recently.

t-TREVON and JUSTIN — These two young brothers reluctantly came to the Table at our urging, and we prayed for them to be kept safe and to grow into the men who God intends them to be. TREVON, the oldest, accepted a cross readily but Justin declined the cross.

ISHAN — Torre was most happy to be reunited with this Muslim man, who stopped by a Prayer Table on Albany Street summer before last. At that time Torre and Ishan prayed for Ishan’s family. Ishan has been to Morocco recently to visit family. He thanked us for praying with him.

t,c– AYESSA — This man stopped for prayer and accepted our prayers for his well-bneing, safety and provision. He was curious about who we were and accepoted one of our yellow cards.

JIM — This man, whose lost his son Robert died last year, is a repeat visitor. He accepted prayers for safety and protection and he hugged Torre tightly throughout the prayer session. When we finished he said “God bless you two guys!” to us.

EBONY — This young lady on her way to her Saturday church service wanted to stop but was late for church and just declined to stop but said to prayer for her. We did.

      PRAYER TABLE REPORT #2

(Sat., Feb. 28, 2009; 10:30 — 11:30am in front of Christ Church, Schenectady; Dianne Gambill and David Carlson)

+–indicates received one of the wooden crosses from Dennis Adams of North Carolina.

++ Tiffany and Jean – We prayed for protection, provision (spiritual, physical, emotional) and that they would know how much God loves them

Bobby – middle-aged gentleman walking by – he declined prayer at first but did stop to talk briefly – he asked what church we were with and said he also attends church – we prayed the Lord’s blessing and protection over his life

Lester – middle-aged man who has come to the prayer table many times, readily stopped for prayer when we called out to him – we had the sense that he was in pain and prayed for the Lord’s healing and that he would know God’s presence and His love

+ Ron and his 20-month-old daughter Isabella – They waited patiently in line while we prayed for Lester. Ron asked for the Lord’s provision. They are currently staying at a motel nearby and have secured an apartment but cannot get the power turned on because of a back electric bill that needs to be paid. We prayed that the Lord would provide for them and help them to get out of the motel and into their apartment.

Desdemona – asked prayer for her grandson Peter who is incarcerated – we prayed for a hedge of protection for him and that the Lord would set him free in every way. We prayed for peace “that passes understanding” for both Peter and Desdemona.

+ Sean – he has been recently released from prison and is having a hard time transitioning back to “normal” society — asked prayer to not be depressed – we asked the Lord to direct his steps, provide for him, set him free from any addictions, and give him joy in place of discouragement and depression.

Katie – asked prayer for a stomach condition – we prayed for God’s healing, provision, and peace

Joe – on his way to the bus stop, he said he had recently quit smoking and asked prayer for willpower to continue to stay away from cigarettes – we prayed for freedom from all addictions and anything that would come between him and God, as well as protection and joy in his life

Jemma – said she has already received prayer and a cross before at the table – asked prayer for healing of cancer and very high blood pressure – we cried out to the Lord on Jemma’s behalf for His healing touch

+ Andre – hurried by and said he didn’t have time for prayer as he was already an hour late for work – we started praying for him that he would not lose his job, and then noticed that he had turned around and was heading back to the prayer table – he said he decided that since he was already so late, why not take a few minutes to receive prayer – he asked that the Lord would make him ‘thankful’ today

Pam – asked us to pray for whatever we felt led to pray for – we asked the Lord to guide her steps and use her to bless others around her (family and friends)

Albany Intercessor


Deuteronomy 7:17-23

February 28, 2009

“If you should say in your heart, ‘These nations are greater than I; how can I dispossess them?’–you shall not be afraid of them, but you shall remember well what the LORD your God did to Pharaoh and to all Egypt:” (Deuteronomy 7:17-18 )
      LORD, write your mighty deeds on our hearts and minds–help us remember them at all times and in all circumstances; don’t let us be distracted by the issues and problems that confront us in the church and in the nation. You are greater than all of these.

“the great trials which your eyes saw, the signs and the wonders, the mighty hand and the outstretched arm, by which the LORD your God brought you out. So shall the LORD your God do to all the peoples of whom you are afraid.” (Deuteronomy 7:19)
      Holy Spirit, help the leaders and teachers and people of this diocese set their eyes upon you and your mighty works and lay fear aside.

“Moreover the LORD your God will send the hornet among them until those who are left, who hide themselves from you, are destroyed.” (Deuteronomy 7:20)
      Jesus, send forth your hornets on those who would harm this diocese and its people.

“You shall not be terrified of them; for the LORD your God, the great and awesome God, is among you.” (Deuteronomy 7:21)
      Father, thank you for coming among us.

“And the LORD your God will drive out those nations before you little by little; you will be unable to destroy them at once, lest the beasts of the field become too numerous for you.” (Deuteronomy 7:22)
      Lord Jesus, your “little by little” has carried us all these years; thank you.

“But the LORD your God will deliver them over to you, and will inflict defeat upon them until they are destroyed.” (Deuteronomy 7:23)
      LORD, win the victory for us; do what we are unable to do ourselves. Help us to know when to turn to you for your help.

      A word received: Pray for my people to return to me — they have wandered off. Pray for my people to seek me with all their heart. Pray for my people to place their hope in me.

Saturday: 30, 32; Deuteronomy 7:17-26; Titus 3:1-15; John 1:43-51
Sunday: 63:1-8(9-11), 98; Deuteronomy 8:1-10; 1 Corinthians 1:17-31; Mark 2:18-22

Albany Intercessor


Lent Prayers: EB Pusey – May we weary of all which is not His

February 28, 2009

What a fantastic classical Anglican prayer.  Many thanks to Nova Scotia Scott and Project Canterbury for making it available to our generation online.

God, give us grace, this coming Lent, so to lay to heart our ways, that we may weary of all which is not His, from Him, to Him: and may, through Him, the Living Way, by new love and obedience, attain to Him, Who, with the Father and the Holy Ghost, is the End of our being, the Fulness of bliss of all creation, “the Eternal Infinite Truth, the origin, fountain, measure, end, and cause of all created truth,” the ever-blessed, beatific Life; to which He, of His mercy, bring us sinners, to Whom be all glory and thanksgiving and adoration and praise, for ever and ever. Amen.

Source of prayer: Give Us Grace: An Anthology of Anglican Prayers, compiled by Christopher L. Webber. Anglican Book Centre, Toronto, 2004.

More on EB Pusey and his writings here.


Lent Quotes: Hesychios – Set your soul in quietness

February 28, 2009

From our archives: Originally posted April 2007

Lent Quotes: Hesychios
Filed under: Purification, Lent 2007, Lent Quotes, Lent — Rick H.

Snow can never emit flame.
Water can never issue fire.
A thorn bush can never produce a fig.
Just so, your heart can never be free from oppressive thoughts, words, and actions until it has purified itself internally.
Be eager to walk this path.
Watch your heart always.
Constantly say the prayer “Lord Jesus Christ, have mercy on me.”
Be humble.
Set your soul in quietness.
–Hesychios


Lent around the blogosphere – 3

February 27, 2009

Not much time for either browsing the web or writing blog entries today, but just a couple of quick notable links:

George Herbert on Lent from the Ad Trinitatem blog, where there’s much more on Herbert, since today is his commemoration.

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David Bennett at Per Christum blog: Lent is about Good News. Here’s an excerpt. But it’s a short post and you should definitely read it all. Good news indeed!

Some people may dread Lent, because of its emphasis on penance and sacrifice, but I think we must ask ourselves, “what is the purpose of our penance and sacrifice?” Transformation. Transformation of our entire being: body, soul, and spirit. However, Lent is not a “Christian self-help program,” a works-based program that will soon make it on Oprah. Through our observance of Lent, we become more like Christ, the same Christ who offers us his love and grace.

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A commenter on one of our posts appealing for Anglican Lenten resources suggested this page on using the Names of God in meditation from the (Anglican) diocese of San Joaquin. It looks excellent and will probably merit a stand-alone blog post here soon. But for today, I’ll just link it.

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Today’s lectionary includes one of my favorite Scripture passages Titus 2:1-15. James Gibson’s reflections on that passage at This Day in the Word are excellent and so appropriate for Lent:

“For the grace of God has appeared,” Paul writes. It is not in our own strength that we can turn away from the enticements of the world which are always beckoning us to indulge the flesh and glory in our fallenness. Grace is the gift of God which “[brings] salvation to all people, training us to renounce ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in the present age.”

Life under the New Covenant of grace is neither rigid legalism nor illicit libertinism. It is, rather, a life yielded to the Spirit of the living God, who alone is able, through the death and resurrection of his Son Jesus Christ, “to purify for himself a people for his own possession who are zealous for good works.”

As glorious as the grace of God is, however, it is, in this present age, merely a foretaste of the “blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ.” This is the greater glory for which God’s people wait. But we do not wait for it passively. If we are, indeed, set apart by God as “a people for his own possession who are zealous for good works,” we will never grow weary in doing those good things which make manifest his presence even in the midst of a broken, fallen world longing for its full redemption. For this task, we will always find his grace sufficient.

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That’s all I have time for today… Also, apologies that I haven’t yet put together a Lent sidebar. That will be my task for tomorrow or Sunday.


Lent Resource: 40 Days for Life

February 27, 2009

There’s been so much material to sort through and post the past few days (especially as I’ve been working to try to bring many of our archived posts back online), that I’ve forgotten to post something that is very important to all of us here at Lent & Beyond.

As part of Lent, many Christians are taking part in a 40 Days for Life campaign of prayer and fasting for sanctity of life issues.  Please consider including prayers for the protection of the unborn as part of your Lenten disciplines.  The daily blog entries for 4o Days for Life are here.

In the past (2008) we’ve had a special 40 Days for Life campaign here at L&B.  You can find all those posts here.


Lent Quotes: Pope Benedict XVI on Fasting

February 27, 2009

From Pope Benedict’s 2009 Lenten Message:

From what I have said thus far, it seems abundantly clear that fasting represents an important ascetical practice, a spiritual arm to do battle against every possible disordered attachment to ourselves. Freely chosen detachment from the pleasure of food and other material goods helps the disciple of Christ to control the appetites of nature, weakened by original sin, whose negative effects impact the entire human person. Quite opportunely, an ancient hymn of the Lenten liturgy exhorts: “Utamur ergo parcius, / verbis cibis et potibus, / somno, iocis et arctius / perstemus in custodia Let us use sparingly words, food and drink, sleep and amusements. May we be more alert in the custody of our senses.”


Lenten Prayer: to be freed from the seven deadly sins

February 27, 2009

From our archives: originally posted March 2007

A Lenten Prayer: to be Freed of the Seven Deadly Sins
Filed under: Lent 2007, Lent Prayers — Karen B.

O meek Savior and Prince of Peace, implant in me the virtues of gentleness and patience. Let me curb the fury of anger and restrain all resentment and impatience so as to overcome evil with good, attain your peace, and rejoice in your love.

O Model of humility, divest me of all pride and arrogance. Let me acknowledge my weakness and sinfulness, so that I may bear mockery and contempt for your sake and esteem myself as lowly in your sight.

O Teacher of abstinence, help me to serve you rather than our appetites. Keep me from gluttony – the inordinate love of food and drink and let me hunger and thirst for your justice.

O Lover of purity, remove all lust from my heart, so that I may serve you with a pure mind and a chaste body.

O Father of the poor, help me to avoid all covetousness for earthly goods and give me a love for heavenly things. Inspire me to give to the needy, just as you gave your life that I might inherit eternal treasures.

O Exemplar of love, keep me from all envy and ill-will. Let the grace of your love dwell in me that I may rejoice in the happiness of others and bewail their adversities.

O zealous Lover of souls, keep me from all sloth of mind or body. Inspire me with zeal for your glory, so that I may do all things for you and in you.

Source: http://www.catholic-forum.com/saints/pray0486.htm


John 1:35-42

February 27, 2009

Again, the next day, John stood with two of his disciples. And looking at Jesus as he walked, he said, “Behold the Lamb of God!” (John 1:35-36)
      Jesus, please help us point to you as John did. Help us recognize you for who you are.

The two disciples heard him speak, and they followed Jesus. (John 1:37)
      Holy Spirit, please help us be disciples who daily follow Jesus.

Then Jesus turned, and seeing them following, said to them, “What do you seek?” They said to him, “Rabbi” (which is to say, when translated, Teacher), “where are you staying?” (John 1:38 )
      Jesus, we are seeking more of you in our lives.

He said to them, “Come and see.” They came and saw where he was staying, and remained with him that day (now it was about the tenth hour). (John 1:39)
      Father, help us daily go to Jesus to seek out all that he has for us.
      
One of the two who heard John speak, and followed him, was Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother. He first found his own brother Simon, and said to him, “We have found the Messiah” (which is translated, the Christ). (John 1:40-41)
      Jesus, please help us share what we have found in you with our family members.

And he brought him to Jesus. Now when Jesus looked at him, He said, “You are Simon the son of John. You shall be called Cephas” (which is translated, A Stone). (John 1:42)
      Father, we too long to be rock steady in Jesus. Daily anoint us with your Holy Spirit so that we can be steady in him. Thank you.

      A word received: Listen to me, my people; listen to my word in Scripture. Listen to me; pray for hearts that heed my word. Listen day by day.

Friday: 31; Deuteronomy 7:12-16; Titus 2:1-15; John 1:35-42
Saturday: 30, 32; Deuteronomy 7:17-26; Titus 3:1-15; John 1:43-51

Albany Intercessor


Update on Anglican Lent Resources

February 26, 2009

Earlier in the week I posted an Appeal for good orthodox Anglican Lent resources.  In the comments to that post I began to note some links to sources I’d recommend.

Earlier today I posted links to daily Lenten devotionals being posted at Anglican Mainstream.  It turns out those devotionals come from Church of the Resurrection in Tampa, FL.  They are posting each week’s devotional guide online. Lent Week 1 booklet is here.

Update: I’m glad to report there is now a Lent category at Anglican Mainstream.  You’ll find excellent daily Lenten devotionals here that are focused on the daily Anglican lectionary and include Anglican heritage reflections.  Highly recommended.

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I have also just found out that my WONDERFUL home church (no bias here!  😉 ) Truro Church in Fairfax VA has put their excellent Lenten devotional guide based on the Ten Commandments online.  You can find that here.

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Finally for now, Stand Firm has posted my appeal for information on good orthodox Anglican Lenten resources.  Check out this thread.

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Please do let us know by comments or e-mail (AnglicanPrayer@gmail.com)  of Anglican resources you’d recommend.  I hope to pull together a new listing of all the links we’ve gathered so far to good Anglican Lenten resources on Saturday.  Thanks so much.

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Update: I got curious and wondered if some of the other big Anglican churches have Lent resources online.  Hopped over to Christ Church Plano’s website.  Yes, indeed they do have Lent Resources, here.  Note the downloadable PDF Devotional booklet “By the Cross”.

I’ll keep trying to find other good resources as I have the time.

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Update 2:

Trinity School for Ministry has an online daily Lenten devotional here.

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Update 3:
A reader at Stand Firm just let us know that Kairos, the young adults ministry of the Falls Church in Northern Virginia has a downloadable Lenten devotional guide. You can download the PDF file here.


Lent Resource: Daily Lenten Devotionals at Anglican Mainstream

February 26, 2009

Note: the following post is from Lent 2009.   You can find the 2010 devotionals at Anglican Mainstream here.

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Anglican Mainstream’s RSS feed has not been updating regularly for me in the past month or so.  That means I sometimes forget to check their site to see what’s new.  And so, I missed the fact that they are posting daily Lenten Devotionals.  Unfortunately there does not seem to be a category link such that you can see only the devotional entry each day.

Here is the Ash Wed. Devotional

Here is today’s devotional

UPDATE: The daily devotionals posted at Anglican Mainstream come from Church of the Resurrection (AMiA) in Tampa Florida. These devotionals can be downloaded each week from the church’s website. See here for more details and for other Anglican churches with daily Lenten devotional guides.


Recommended Lenten Resource: This Day in the Word

February 26, 2009

Ok, I’m scratching my head on this one.  Really.  (And no, I don’t to my knowledge have either dandruff or lice!)  How have I not known about or come across this blog before?!?!  The author, James Gibson is an Anglican priest in South Carolina.  I regularly read one of his other blogs, Sanctus.  But this blog, This day in the Word, ties in so perfectly with Lent & Beyond.  It provides devotional reflections on the Daily Office readings.  I truly can’t believe I haven’t found it before.

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Go read today’s entryAsh Wednesday’s entry is even better.  Consider bookmarking this blog and reading it as part of your Lenten devotions.  I’m adding it to our sidebar under Lectionary & Liturgical.

An excerpt from the Ash Wednesday entry:

The Lenten season places much emphasis on spiritual disciplines and practices. But the overarching theme of the season is repentance. The Pharisee had mastered the disciplines and practices, but his heart was far away from God. The tax collector was not the greatest practitioner of spiritual disciplines, but he cried out for mercy from the depths of his sin-sick heart and went home justified before God.


Lent Quotes: Giving up sin, not chocolate! (and an excellent set of questions for self examination)

February 26, 2009

I found this quote in a four page overview of Lent entitled  On Keeping a Holy Lent. The article is by Craig Higgins, a Presbyterian pastor in Rye, NY and I believe this article was linked on Charles Colson’s Breakpoint ministry site.

Keeping Lent, however, is potentially dangerous, precisely because of this focus on the heart. After all, it is much easier to read a book on prayer than to spend time leisurely speaking with our heavenly Father. It is much easier to fast from certain foods than it is to turn from idols of the heart. It is much easier to write a check than to spend time in ministries of mercy. Consequently, Lent is easily trivialized. The point of Lent is not to give up chocolate; it’s to give up sin! Even with this warning, however, we need to beware of going from one extreme to the other. Yes, it is possible so completely to externalize your Lenten observance that you end up trivializing it.

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The article goes on to review traditional Lenten disciplines:

self-examination

self-denial

acts of compassion

using the means of grace

The appendix includes an excellent section of questions for self-examination:

Appendix: Questions for Self-Examination
1. Have I been fervent in prayer? Was there warmth? access?
2. Have I prayed at my stated times? with my family?
3. Have I practiced God’s presence, at least every hour?
4. Have I, before every deliberate action or conversation, considered how it might be turned to
God’s glory?
5. Have I sought to center conversations on the other person’s interests and needs and ultimately toward God, or did I turn them toward my own interests?
6. Have I given thanks to God after every pleasant occurrence or time?
7. Have I thought or spoken unkindly of anyone?
8. Have I been careful to avoid proud thoughts or comparing myself to others? Have I done things just for appearance? Have I mused on my own fame or acclaim?
9. Have I been sensitive, warm, and cheerful toward everyone?
10. Have I been impure in my thoughts or glances?
11. Have I confessed sins toward God and others swiftly?
12. Have I over- or under-eaten, -slept, -worked?
13. Have I twisted the truth to look good?
14. Have I been leading in my home, or only reacting to situations?

In his set of questions for self-examination, the late Jack Miller gets right to the point:
1. Is God working in your life?
2. Have you been repenting of your sin lately?
3. Are you building your life on Christ’s free justification or are you insecure and guilt-ridden?
4. Have you done anything simply because you love Jesus?
5. Have you stopped anything simply because you love Jesus?

Tons of food for thought & prayer here.

Hattip to A Ruach Journey, a blog I discovered while browsing other WordPress blogs using the Lent tag.


Lent Around the Blogosphere – II

February 26, 2009

I’m posting these links pretty much as I find them… no significance to the order in which they’re posted.

Fr. Matt Kennedy has posted his Ash Wednesday sermon audio:  A Badge of Dishonor

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British blogger Maggi Dawn has posted T.S. Eliot’s wonderful poem Ash Wednesday

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Over at Daily Episcopalian, Derek Olsen of Haligweorc blog encourages folks on using the Daily Office as a Lenten discipline, including links to various helpful resources.  (Derek is perhaps the most orthodox blogger to post at Daily Episcopalian.  His entries are usually solid and worth reading.)

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Baptist pastor and blogger Trevin Wax has a Lenten Book recommendation:  25 Meditations for Lent and Easter

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Kendall Harmon at TitusOneNine has rectified a glaring hole (just kidding Kendall! 😉 ) in his impressive and comprehensive blog category listing.  He’s now got a Lent category (category #522 for those who are counting!  Though some of those category numbers belong to Stand Firm.  Kendall might only have about 450 categories…!)  All kidding aside, do bookmark Kendall’s lent link.  He posts wonderful & thoughtful entries.  His Holy Week posts last year were just awesome.

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Well, well.  With great pleasure, I announce that via an incoming link to Lent & Beyond, I discovered that the infamous Fr. Binky is alive and well and still doing a nice round up of Lent Links.  You can find all of the original webelf’s latest Lenten discoveries online here (scroll down to “It’s Lent)

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Stay tuned… yet more to come!


Lent around the blogosphere (updated)

February 26, 2009

During the early days of Lent (and Advent) for the past few years, I have routinely spent a bit of time scouring the blogosphere each day to find good resources – prayers, devotionals, quotes. There is always way too much good material out there to post all I find as stand alone entries. So, from time to time, I may post a brief “Lent Around the blogosphere” entry to provide something of a roundup. I’ll never be anywhere near as prolific as Fr. Binky though…! His Lenten blogrolls will never be equaled, I think!  😉

Entries below are in no particular order… sorry!

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Amy Welborn had a moving Ash Wednesday entry: “You are Dust”.  I’ve been amazed to read her blog entries over the past few weeks as she faces the grief over the sudden death of her husband.  I too was struck by the section of Pope Benedict’s Lenten reflection which Amy quoted, and that will appear as a separate entry here at L&B.

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Awakenings blogger, Lutheran Pastor Eric Swensson has posted a reflection by J. Heinrich Arnold:  Lent and Lengthening Your Profile

Yes, lent comes from the Old English word ‘lenchten’ which became lengthen. Funny how smart those old folks were, for indeed the days lengthen, but so does our time with the Lord in prayer. Our time with an open Bible becomes longer. And so our minds open onto new hope, new possibilities. We begin to experience God’s transformative ways as the Spirit expands in our newly dedicated hearts and minds.

It is most appropriate for Christians in Lent is to reflect continually upon the meaning of the cross of Christ. The following will be most useful for that purpose, as well as teach the unintiated into what a deep Chistian faith is all about.

At the Cross by J. Heinrich Arnold
Excerpted from Freedom from Sinful Thoughts, available FREE in e-book format.

Each of us must find the cross and Christ. We can search the whole world, but we will find forgiveness of sins and freedom from torment nowhere except there.

Every believer knows that Christ went the way of the cross for our sakes. But it is not enough just to know this. He suffered in vain unless we are willing to die for him as he died for us. Christ’s way was a bitter way. It ended in a victory of light and life, but it began in the feeding trough of an animal in a cold stable, and passed through tremendous need: through suffering, denial, betrayal, and finally, complete devastation and death on a cross. If we call ourselves his followers, we must be willing to take the same path.

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Ed Pacht, at the Continuum blog, has a beautiful poem “Getting a Dirty Face”.  Here’s his introduction and the beginning of the poem:

February 25, 2009. Ash Wednesday. It was a hard day today. My mood was wretched indeed, and yet, because of the day it was I went to Mass. As Fr. Christian marked a cross of ashes on my forehead, my mood began to change. The folly of letting little things drag me down began to be put into perspective. Sin and sorrow are great realities. Powerlessness afflicts us all, but there is hope. There is promise …

Getting a Dirty Face

Ash to ash, dust to dust,
from dust we came, to dust return.
Our mortal frames such short times live,
so briefly walk upon this earth,
so soon like candles burnt and snuffed,
whose light must cease to shine.
And yet we walk, and yet we shine,
and for a few years we live,
and live for what? ourselves to please?
transient pleasures to obtain, to use, to lose?

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Phil Synder at The Deacon’s Slant has begun a series of posts on sin.  His first entry:  Sin – What we do or who we are?

The truth is much worse than that. The fact that we spend any time at all justifying our selves or trying to minimize our sins shows how far we are from God’s righteousness.

Sin isn’t just what we do. Sin is a part of who we are. Sin is part of our DNA if you will. Sin shows itself in the baby’s cries when she is not getting enough attention. It shows itself in the young boy who picks on others to make himself feel more important.

Over the next few days, I intend to spend some time looking at sin, not just in what we do but in who we are. Perhaps when we better understand the pervasive nature of sin in our lives we will be more ready to repent of this and ask our Lord to come and make us new.

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NovaScotia Scott has A Lenten Prayer of EB Pusey. It is fantastic.  It begins:

God, give us grace, this coming Lent, so to lay to heart our ways, that we may weary of all which is not His, from Him, to Him

I can pretty much guarantee that will eventually be posted here as a stand alone entry.  But not today… so for today I’ll just link it.

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Orthodox priest and blogger Fr. Stephen Freeman has The Difficulty of Lent.  It’s a good reflection on the Apostle Paul’s words in Romans 12:1-2 – offering our bodies as a living sacrifice and being transformed by the renewing our minds.

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.”

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Mollie at Get Religion in her coverage of how the Mainstream media has covered Lent and Ash Wednesday notes Julia Duin’s  review of a very helpful cookbook to promote healthy fasting: “The Daniel’s Fast Cookbook.”  Mollie also has personal reflection on Lent: “Ashes to Ashes” at NRO (note: Mollie’s reflection is one of about a dozen short reflections posted at NRO. The whole article is really worth reading.)

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Fr. Rob Lord in the diocese of Central Florida has a nice short Lenten reflection: Ash Wednesday, the enormous privilege. He begins:

This is Ash Wednesday. It is one of the most grateful days of the year for me. Why? This is a day that we set aside for the most searching self-inventory before God, and the most honest appraisal of our sin and brokenness that we can possibly offer him.

It is not easy. We are tempted to evade this .  All sins are attempts to fill voids in our lives, in the deepest places of our soul. Yet, sin in some measure is our only hope. For when we consciously acknowledge the seriousness of our predicament before God, at the same moment we recognize God as the one who extends mercy to us even in the midst of the truth of who we are. As Paul wrote: “While we were yet sinners Christ died for us.” ( Romans 5:8).

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Friend and fellow L&B blogger, Fr. Tim Fountain has an excellent reflection on Datura intoxication and Lent:
(What a great analogy!)

Datura intoxication typically produces … a complete inability to differentiate reality from fantasy (frank delirium, as contrasted to hallucination)… bizarre, and possibly violent behavior… painful photophobia that can last several days. Pronounced amnesia is another commonly reported effect.

Aren’t these symptoms with which we struggle during Lent?

  • + We try to step out of the deceptions of the world, the flesh and the devil – all the “fantasy and delirium” in which we wander each day. We turn to walk the narrow, difficult but life-giving way of Christ.
  • + We try to mitigate our own eccentric and hurtful ways and express more love for others. The Book of Common Prayer 1928 offered I Corinthians 13, the Bible’s great treatise on love, on the last Sunday before Lent.

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The Rev’d Dr. Leander Harding has posted his Thoughts on Ash Wednesday.  I like how he closes his entry.  It reminds us that there are many who may be seeking more of Christ this Lent, who may only be beginning their journey with Him, who may not yet be convinced in their faith.  Let’s pray for them and encourage them.  This is what Leander+ writes:

I give thanks to God for those who come to have ashes put on their foreheads today even if they don’t really know why they come, even if they cannot give an account of the hope that is in them. I give thanks to God who in Christ draws all people to himself and for his drawing power in the liturgy of the church and I pray for the grace to communicate the living Christ to hearts and minds as I put the living bread in outstretched hands.

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I hope and pray something of what Dr. Harding prays is true for us too here at Lent & Beyond this Lent, that we will be able to communicate Christ and help nourish those who are hungry and seeking Christ in this season.

I think 10 entries are enough for now… I have more things to post, but I will either do so in a separate entry later today or over the weekend.


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