What binds you and keeps you from your deepest self? I can make a big list:
Distractions, limited thinking about possibilities, self-deception about weaknesses, fear of failure, fear of success, despair, old failures, unresolved guilt, a sense of being powerless in a situation.
It is a wonder a make any progress against these foes. And yet I persist! I look forward to Lent, because it is a season of honesty. It is a time where I am compelled to be grounded and break the bonds that constrict my spirit. Without Lent I might ignore the nagging pains in my soul, carrying on with my “important” duties. But paying attention to the discomfort at the edge of my consciousness is sometimes my most important task. How can a bound soul free others?
Writing is one way I work at freeing myself. Sharing what I write holds me accountable. I invite you to join me on the Lenten journey, preacher or hearer of the Word. I have listed weekly themes from the lectionary below, with quotes and links to my sermons. I will also post new weekly material in light of current thoughts and events. Friend my Facebook page for daily thoughts, especially about my Lenten reading, including “The Day the Revolution Began” by NT Wright, and “Centering Prayer and Inner Awakening” by Cynthia Bourgeault.
Together may we free the captives, beginning with ourselves!
Lent 1B – February 18
Scripture: Mark 1:9-15 “Facing Yourself in a Faceless World”
“Temptation is this. I’m not related to you. I don’t need you. Therefore, my actions have no consequences. The purpose of Lent is the opposite. We are all inter-related. We are in this together and we need each other. Everything we do towards each other matters. The cross demonstrates how bad things get when we fail to love, and the resurrection gives up hope that we can be reconciled when we do fail.”
Lent 2B – February 25
Mark 8:31-38 “Who Do You Say That I Am”
Lent 3B – March 4
Scripture: John 2:13-22
Lent 4B – March 11
Scripture: John 3: 14-21 “God So Loved the Cosmos”
Pick up globe. Think for moment what “world” mean when we look at this globe. It does not mean, God loved only Europeans, or only Americans, it does not say that God so loved only Catholics, or Protestants, or even only Christians. It doesn’t even say God so loved the church, or the true believers. God so loved the world…(spin the globe.) In fact, the world God loves does not even have all these convenient national boundaries drawn in for us. God gets the Apollo view of the world of oceans, deserts and rainforests, and some bright lights at night to show that there are humans here.
Lent 5B – March 18
Scripture: John 12: 20-33 “Necessary Losses”
Holding on to regrets strangles hope before it can lift us to new life. Trying to control events and other people leads to frustration, excessive stress, and exhaustion. Letting go of things we cannot control is a spiritual exercise in the art of dying so that new life may abound.
We may even need to let God die. The truth is this-few people get God right the first time, or ever. Sometimes our God is too small and we will stop believing in that deity when it no longer works. That God must die in order to know the true living God. Do you know what the early Christians in John’s day were called? Atheists! Why? Because they didn’t believe in the Roman gods. Apollo, Mercury and Saturn were gods once, now they are just cars.
Palm Sunday – March 25
Scripture: Mark 11:1-11 “About the Donkey”
“The slow and sure footed donkey, with its strong back and iron will, and capacity to bear burdens, moved the ancient world where it needed to go. A burrow brought Mary safely to Bethlehem so Jesus is born right off the donkey, into the manger where the same animal eats, so it is fitting to enter Jerusalem this way. So when you feel you stuck rounding up the donkeys, maybe you are right where Jesus wants you to be, and your real challenge is not the burdens you bear, but knowing it is holy work which makes God’s presence real in the world.”