Lent: Meditating on the Scriptures

February 21, 2012

James Gibson at Sanctus has an entry about a Lenten devotional reading plan through the Gospels using NT Wright’s new translation.  In his post, he provides some commentary on the well-known collect, traditionally used during Advent, about learning, marking and inwardly digesting the Scriptures:

Blessed Lord, who hast caused all holy Scriptures to be written for our learning: Grant that we may in such wise hear them, read, mark, learn, and inwardly digest them, that by patience and comfort of thy holy Word, we may embrace and ever hold fast the blessed hope of everlasting life, which thou hast given us in our Saviour Jesus Christ. Amen.

Gibson suggests the importance of such a devotional Scripture reading plan is to:

[reclaim] the lost art of daily meditation on the Scriptures. As the collect suggests, we will not only hear and read them, but also “read, mark, learn, and inwardly digest them” to the end that “we may embrace and ever hold fast the blessed hope of everlasting life.” Barbee and Zahl, reflecting on the collect, put it succinctly.

For Cranmer, the touchstone or reference point for wisdom is “all holy Scriptures.” He prays that we would not only hear the Scriptures as words, but “inwardly digest” them as the Word by which we may be comforted (i.e. strengthened). Cranmer views the Bible as providing both the grounds for our patience and the fuel for our strengthening. Such patience and strengthening are able to take us by the instrumentality of hope right up to the threshold of natural life. After we cross that threshold, we shall receive the “everlasting life” promised in the last phase.

The aim of our journey during this Lenten season is to immerse ourselves in the Scriptures so much so that we will know and embrace, in a deeper way than ever before, the transforming power of God who leads us, by his grace, to “the blessed hope of everlasting life which [he] hast given us in our Saviour Jesus Christ.”

You can read the full entry at Sanctus here and learn more about the Lenten Devotional reading plan through the Gospels here.

A Lenten Exhortation: Give it Up!

February 21, 2012

I really appreciated a Lenten exhortation posted by David Mills at First Things today.  To paraphrase a bit, he warns us about a touchy-feely sentimental Lent which becomes all about our feelings of closeness to the Lord.  He reminds us of the true & deep need to mortify our flesh and to die to self.

Here’s an excerpt:

I would commend to  you the old practice of giving up something, which I wrote about a couple of years ago in Just Give It Up. The experience of your own worldliness is always, even after giving things up for decades, a bit of a shock, and a salutary one, and what small increase in self-discipline you acquire a good thing in itself.  … [During Lent we] need to start with an exercise that reminds us of who we are, and how far we fall short of our ideals, or even our usual self-appraisal, and how much we need the grace of God.

Amen.  You can find the full entry here.

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