Church in Bethesda Blog
First Reflections on Lent
Lent has finally started and I’d like to reflect on the first couple of days with you, and then I’d love to hear some of your reflections and thoughts on how the Lenten Season has begun.
First of all, I really enjoyed Ash Wednesday this year. I’m very grateful to Deb for inviting me out to Shady Grove Hospital to lead a reflection time with their chaplains. I met some wonderful people and we shared a lectio divina style collage time with magazines, glue sticks and the whole works. I’m sharing my piece in this post. ------>
We read Psalm 8 and waited for David’s song to resonate in us and move us to find images and themes and words to collage. One chaplain is a Jewish Rabbi and he blessed us with a reading of the psalm in Hebrew. What resonated with me was what I believe to be the answer to the question in verse 4... what are we that God would notice us and show care for us? We are loved.
I personally have a two part fast this year. I am fasting from one item as a simple exercise of self denial. A little self denial’s not a bad thing to practice and something which I seem to rarely do throughout the rest of the year. I’m also fasting from a second item more as a matter of breaking something’s hold on me. Of course, a thing can’t really exert influence on me, I’m talking about retraining myself.
Surprisingly, I can already notice my body responding to the changes in diet. No, I’m not dropping miracle pounds in just hours and have whiter teeth… I am feeling different about food and processing it differently. I think all for the better so far. I’m going to keep watching that process and praying through the experience.
Finally, I was very blessed on Wednesday to lead services online in the virtual world as well as that evening with Church in Bethesda folks. In these services I refrained for the pastoral need to preach at everyone and tried to step side to allow St. Peter to do some informing. We read 1 Peter 1:3-15 and I’ll share it here to close this entry:
"Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade. This inheritance is kept in heaven for you, who through faith are shielded by God’s power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time. In all this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may be proved genuine and may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed. Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, for you are receiving the end result of your faith, the salvation of your souls...
"Concerning this salvation, the prophets, who spoke of the grace that was to come to you, searched intently and with the greatest care, trying to find out the time and circumstances to which the Spirit of Christ in them was pointing when he predicted the sufferings of Christ and the glories that would follow. It was revealed to them that they were not serving themselves but you, when they spoke of the things that have now been told you by those who have preached the gospel to you by the Holy Spirit sent from heaven. Even angels long to look into these things...
"Therefore, with minds that are alert and fully sober, set your hope on the grace to be brought to you when Jesus Christ is revealed at his coming. As obedient children, do not conform to the evil desires you had when you lived in ignorance. But just as he who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do; for it is written: 'Be holy, because I am holy.'"
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