Tag Archives: journey

Ash Wednesday


And so it begins! The season of Lent is here. The journey to the celebration of Easter has finally arrived. One of the common practices of Lent is to give something up for the 40 days that lead to Easter. I actually had a very good conversation with a group of students last week about this practice.

crossIt was really good to listen to them wrestle with the idea of sacrificing something during this season or not. What was great was listening and talking with them about the why behind the practice. Why would someone sacrifice anything during the season?

One of the best definitions of the season that I have read says this:

The tradition of Lent- a forty-day sacrifice- is one way of mourning the death that sin has caused in our lives.

I like it because I think it helps answer the question why sacrifice anything. In sacrificing, it continually reminds us something missing. Something that is a regular part of life has been taken out of life; in a way, killed off.

Sin kills our relationship with God and with others (Romans 5:17-19). For us to be made whole, something had to happen. The practice of sacrifice during Lent helps to remind us of that. Jesus made an amazing sacrifice to get rid of sin. So for the next 40 days, every time I miss what I have sacrificed, I’m hoping it calls me back to remembering the destruction of sin and the awesomeness of His sacrifice. Then on Easter, it will hopefully make the victory of His resurrection that much more astonishing! Maybe it is a practice that will hep you as well.


Holy Week: Tuesday


John 12:37-50

Though he had done so many signs before them, they still did not believe in him, so that the word spoken by the prophet Isaiah might be fulfilled:

“Lord, who has believed what he heard from us,
and to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed?”

Therefore they could not believe. For again Isaiah said,

“He has blinded their eyes
and hardened their heart,
lest they see with their eyes,
and understand with their heart, and turn,
and I would heal them.”

Isaiah said these things because he saw his glory and spoke of him. Nevertheless, many even of the authorities believed in him, but for fear of the Pharisees they did not confess it, so that they would not be put out of the synagogue; for they loved the glory that comes from man more than the glory that comes from God.

And Jesus cried out and said, “Whoever believes in me, believes not in me but in him who sent me. And whoever sees me sees him who sent me. I have come into the world as light, so that whoever believes in me may not remain in darkness. If anyone hears my words and does not keep them, I do not judge him; for I did not come to judge the world but to save the world. The one who rejects me and does not receive my words has a judge; the word that I have spoken will judge him on the last day. For I have not spoken on my own authority, but the Father who sent me has himself given me a commandment—what to say and what to speak. And I know that his commandment is eternal life. What I say, therefore, I say as the Father has told me.”


Holiness


Sunday in children’s church we read a passage from Isaiah 6. After reading the passage and trying to imagine Isaiah’s vision, we had a conversation about holiness…. Isaiah saw God and encountered His holiness. When he did, he realized he did not stand a chance at remaining near God- he was so unholy. But he was not left that way. God had him purified. God desired not to destroy him because of being sinful, but God desired to make (and made) him holy. And when Isaiah was made holy, he could then respond to God.

This last week the theme through the Lent readings was holiness. Here are a few things that stood out to me. First, God is holy and I do not recognize this as much as I should. God’s holiness should be an overwhelming, awe inspiring realization… as it was for Isaiah. Second, I am very, very far from holy…. yet God desires to make me holy that I might be drawn near. God is not out to destroy me, but to make me holy that I might be a true worshiper. And this was my final thought as I thought as I reflected on the week, this is a journey. Just as I keep thinking of Lent as a journey towards something (Easter), every day is part of my journey towards holiness. Every day I am hoping to be overwhelmed more by God’s holiness; to realize my own lack of holiness; and to be made more holy by the One who desires to draw me near. It’s all part of a journey. And it’s an amazing journey.

“What a contrast between God’s character and ours! While human beings are disobedient and rebellious, God is gracious, merciful, and loving.” –Yusufu Turaki (Nigeria)


Beginning a Journey


One of the traditions that I love in the Church is the daily scripture readings. What I like so much about following a lectionary, like the Book of Common Prayer, is the connection that it offers. When I follow the daily passages, I am encouraged to know that other Christians- whoever they are, wherever they are- are reading from the same passage that same day.

During the season of Lent, I have decided to share the scripture readings that I will be reading each day. At times I may share a few of my thoughts. What I hope is that you may use some of the readings to enhance your journey during this season.

So welcome to the journey to Easter…

Scripture Reading for Today:

Psalm 34

1 I will praise the LORD at all times.
I will constantly speak his praises.
2 I will boast only in the LORD;
let all who are helpless take heart.
3 Come, let us tell of the LORD’s greatness;
let us exalt his name together.

4 I prayed to the LORD, and he answered me.
He freed me from all my fears.
5 Those who look to him for help will be radiant with joy;
no shadow of shame will darken their faces.
6 In my desperation I prayed, and the LORD listened;
he saved me from all my troubles.
7 For the angel of the LORD is a guard;
he surrounds and defends all who fear him.

8 Taste and see that the LORD is good.
Oh, the joys of those who take refuge in him!
9 Fear the LORD, you his godly people,
for those who fear him will have all they need.
10 Even strong young lions sometimes go hungry,
but those who trust in the LORD will lack no good thing.

11 Come, my children, and listen to me,
and I will teach you to fear the LORD.
12 Does anyone want to live a life
that is long and prosperous?
13 Then keep your tongue from speaking evil
and your lips from telling lies!
14 Turn away from evil and do good.
Search for peace, and work to maintain it.

15 The eyes of the LORD watch over those who do right;
his ears are open to their cries for help.
16 But the LORD turns his face against those who do evil;
he will erase their memory from the earth.
17 The LORD hears his people when they call to him for help.
He rescues them from all their troubles.
18 The LORD is close to the brokenhearted;
he rescues those whose spirits are crushed.

19 The righteous person faces many troubles,
but the LORD comes to the rescue each time.
20 For the LORD protects the bones of the righteous;
not one of them is broken!

21 Calamity will surely overtake the wicked,
and those who hate the righteous will be punished.
22 But the LORD will redeem those who serve him.
No one who takes refuge in him will be condemned.

2 Corinthians 2:5-13

5 I am not overstating it when I say that the man who caused all the trouble hurt all of you more than he hurt me. 6 Most of you opposed him, and that was punishment enough. 7 Now, however, it is time to forgive and comfort him. Otherwise he may be overcome by discouragement. 8So I urge you now to reaffirm your love for him.

9 I wrote to you as I did to test you and see if you would fully comply with my instructions. 10 When you forgive this man, I forgive him, too. And when I forgive whatever needs to be forgiven, I do so with Christ’s authority for your benefit, 11 so that Satan will not outsmart us. For we are familiar with his evil schemes.

12 When I came to the city of Troas to preach the Good News of Christ, the Lord opened a door of opportunity for me. 13 But I had no peace of mind because my dear brother Titus hadn’t yet arrived with a report from you. So I said good-bye and went on to Macedonia to find him.


No Clever Title.


One of the things that will never cease to amaze me is how I can read a passage or portion of scripture over and over, yet one day it will strike me in a way it never did before. This happened to me this morning. But it wasn’t just one passage, it was actually a sequence of chapters.

I started in Psalm 20. This is a chapter that I have a deep personal connection with, but that’s another story for another time. So I read it this morning and was once again moved at it’s words of prayer. But then I read Psalm 21 and it struck me as interesting because it’s the response from the one who was prayed for in chapter 20. The prayer in 20 is a prayer for the king and then immediately in 21 is the king’s response and testimony to what God is doing. Then something happens that kind of surprises me, we have Psalm 22.

The opening words in Psalm 22 are, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” It almost seems like it doesn’t fit the prayers of the king and for the king in the previous chapters… and I know that each chapter in Psalm represents a song that is to stand on it’s own. But today the order of these three chapters really stood out to me… because each of these chapters have something significant in common. Weather it’s a prayer for someone (Psalm 20), or a praise for how God is answering that prayer (Psalm 21), or a cry of anguish (Psalm 22), each of them all acknowledge this:

God is trustworthy.

20:7 says, Some trust in chariots and some in horses,
    but we trust in the name of the LORD our God.

21:17 says, For the king trusts in the LORD,
   and through the steadfast love of the Most High he shall not be moved.

22:4-5 says, In you our fathers trusted;
   they trusted, and you delivered them.
To you they cried and were rescued;
   in you they trusted and were not put to shame.

It made me think about this- that no matter what is happening in my life, I can trust God. I need to trust God. And God will come through. In good times, hard times, mediocre times- God is still God whom I may trust with everything.