Week 2 Self Denial: Setting Our Minds on Things Above
Lectionary readings for Second Sunday in Lent (Cycle C)
Genesis 15:1-12, 17-28; Psalm 27, Philippians 3:17-4:1a; Luke 13:31-35
Come my heart says, “Seek his face!” Your face, Lord, do I seek. —Psalm 27:8
Most years I don’t feel quite ready for Lent with all its demands and disciplines—especially the call to self-denial and fasting. I don’t want to just “give up chocolate for Lent” because God is the curmudgeon in the sky who wants to keep it from me. I don’t want anyone (including myself) to see the spiritual life as a joyless existence that eschews God’s good gifts.
And yet, I don’t want to miss anything either! I don’t want to miss the possibility of having my life stripped down to its barest essence through fasting from those things that keep me out of touch with my longing and need for God. I don’t want to side-step this “spring cleaning of the soul” intended to clear out the junk and garbage in my life so there is more space for God. I don’t want to miss the chance to abstain from soul-numbing distractions so I can be more attuned to God’s voice ringing as clear as bell in the depths of my uncluttered soul.
My guess is, you feel the same way, too. So let us pray together…
Catch me in my anxious scurrying, Lord,
and hold me in this Lenten season;
hold my feet to the fire of your grace
and make me attentive to my mortality
that I may begin to die now
to those things that keep me from living fully
with you and for you…
Hold my heart to the beat of your grace
and create in me a resting place,
a kneeling place,
a tip-toe place
where I can recover from the disease of my grandiosities
which fill my mind and calendar with busy self-importance,
that I may become vulnerable enough
to dare intimacy with the familiar,
to listen cup-eared for your summons…
during this season of sacrifice,
enable me to sacrifice time
that I may experience
©Ruth Haley Barton, 2013. Not to be used without permission. Prayer adapted from Ted Loder, Guerillas of Grace, pp. 117-19.
Ruth is founder of the Transforming Center, and author of Pursuing God’s Will Together, Strengthening the Soul of Your Leadership, Sacred Rhythms, and Invitation to Solitude and Silence (InterVarsity Press).
Read the post Lent: A Season of Returning by clicking here.
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