Thursday, March 2, 2017

Lent: A Student of Jesus

On Ash Wednesday I talked about the discipline of Lent.  Discipline comes from a word meaning "pupil."  A discipline helps you learn something.

For students of Jesus' way, a discipline during the season of Lent opens our lives to God's work of transformation. It helps us learn to become what God has created us to be: practitioners of grace, justice, and love.

If you'd like a Lenten discipline but don't know where to begin, I suggest one or both of these:

1) Over dinner each day, reflect on these two questions. If you live with people, you may find it helpful to do this together.
  • How did I give love today?  
  • How did I receive love today?
2) Begin each day with a benediction and end each day with a confession. This is what I'm doing this year. 

Every year as we plan the Ash Wednesday service I remember how much I love these texts.  The benediction at the end of the service energizes me to be who God made me to be. The confession covers it all, from secret shames to the systemic ills and everything in between.In the worship service, we start with confession and end with benediction but I think it's appropriate to flip those two in daily life - starting each day with benediction and ending with confession.

I pray that as I frame my days through this practice, I'll find more patience, resilience, humility and focus.  I hope it will help me be a better student of Jesus.  If you join me in this, I'd love to hear how it works for you.

Blessings on your Lent,
 - Pr Sarah

Start the day with a benediction: Perhaps post it to your bathroom mirror or put it on your car radio dial.

Go forth into the world in peace; 
Be of good courage;
Hold fast to that which is good;
Render to no one evil for evil;
Strengthen the fainthearted;
Support the weak; 
Help the afflicted; 
Honor everyone;
Love and serve the Lord,
Rejoicing in the power of the Holy Spirit. 

End the day with confession.   I'll print this out and put it on my nightstand.


Most holy and merciful God:  I confess to you and to the whole communion of saints in heaven and on earth, that I have sinned by my own fault in thought, word, and deed; by what I have done, and by what I have left undone.

I have not loved you with my whole heart, and mind, and strength.
I have not loved my neighbor as myself.
I have not forgiven others, as I have been forgiven.
Have mercy on me, Lord.

I have been deaf to your call to serve as Christ served us.
I have not been true to the mind of Christ.
I have grieved your Holy Spirit.
Have mercy on me, Lord.

I confess to you, Lord, all my past unfaithfulness.
The pride, hypocrisy, and impatience in my life,
My self-indulgent appetites and ways, and my exploitation of other people,
My anger at my own frustration, and my envy of those more fortunate than myself,
My intemperate love of worldly goods and comforts, and my dishonesty in daily life and work,
My negligence in prayer and worship, and my failure to commend the faith that is in me,
I confess to you Lord.

Accept my repentance, Lord, for the wrongs I have done.
For my blindness to human need and suffering, and my indifference to injustice and cruelty,
For all false judgments, for uncharitable thoughts toward my neighbors, and for my prejudice and contempt toward those who differ from me,
For my waste and pollution of your creation, and my lack of concern for those who come after me.
Accept my repentance, Lord.
Restore me, good Lord, and let your anger depart from me.  
Hear me, Lord, for your mercy is great.   Amen.

Ten for Ten. Ten reasons it's great to be a pastor, in celebration of my 10 year anniversary of ordination.

I'm in there somewhere. I was ordained at Luther Place Memorial Church in Washington DC on November 10, 2007, ten years ago today. ...