Lent 2014 Devotional – Week 7

This is the final installment of Cornerstone’s 2014 Lenten Devotional. We hope you have found it encouraging and helpful during this season. If you live in or around San Francisco, we also invite you to join us for Easter weekend. Click here for more details.

Theme: GROWTH
April 16 – Easter Sunday

SCRIPTURE READINGLectio Divina
If you have never done Lectio Divina, don’t worry. Just click on the link above for a description. To start; get yourself into a comfortable reading position…take a few slow, deep breaths…and relax…let a few moments pass to clear your mind so that God’s word may come to rest within you. Now, you are ready to begin…and we pray that our Lord would richly bless you in this time of reflection!

prcas2184The Upper Room
John 20:20-29

On the evening of that first day of the week, when the disciples were together, with the doors locked for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you!”

After he said this, he showed them his hands and side. The disciples were overjoyed when they saw the Lord.

Again Jesus said, “Peace be with you! As the Father has sent me, I am sending you.”And with that he breathed on them and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive anyone his sins, they are forgiven; if you do not forgive them, they are not forgiven.”


MEDITATIVE READING
Margaret Silf – Wayfaring: A Gospel Journey in Everyday Life

Let yourself be there in imagination, and feel with the disciples something of the despair and fear that grip them.

Bring your own fears into the scene. Notice who or what is evoking fear in you right now. The source of your fear is on the other side of a locked door.

Is there anything you can do to open the doors to your fears? Simply notice how you feel, and what your real desire is in this place.

Now let Jesus come into your locked inner room, with his prayer, for your “wholeness.”

How do you feel? Is there anything you want to say to him? He shows you his wounds, and then he says that just as he has been sent by his Father, to kindle a new flame in the darkness of history, so he is now sending you.

But he doesn’t just commission you to go out into the world you fear so much. He gives you the empowerment to do so. He brings a new flame into being, and breathes new life, new hope, into the very heart of your being.

Can you remember any times when you have felt, perhaps unexpectedly, that you were able to cross some threshold that you would previously have thought impossible? If so, recall that “resurrection event” with gratitude, and take hold of everything it means to you.


REFLECTION

“Being in the world without being of the world.” These words summarize well the way Jesus speaks of the spiritual life. It is a life in which we are totally transformed by the Spirit of love. Yet it is a life in which everything seems to remain the same. To live a spiritual life does not mean that we must leave our families, give up our jobs, or change our ways of working; it does not mean that we have to withdraw from social or political activities, or lose interest in literature and art; it does not require severe forms of asceticism or long hours of prayer. Changes such as these may in fact grow out of our spiritual life, and for some people radical decisions may be necessary. But the spiritual life can be lived in as many ways as there are people. What is new is that we have moved from the many things to the kingdom of God. What is new is that we are set free from the compulsions of our world and have set our hearts on the only necessary thing. What is new is that we no longer experience the many things, people, and events as endless causes for worry, but begin to experience them as the rich variety of ways in which God makes his presence known to us.

Henri Nouwen
Show Me the Way, pp. 20-21.


ADDITIONAL POINTS OF REFLECTION FOR THE WEEK
(Optional)

Mark 4:30-32
He also said, With what can we compare the kingdom of God, or what parable will we use for it? It is like a mustard seed, which, when sown upon the ground, is the smallest of all the seeds on earth; yet when it is sown it grows up and becomes the greatest of all shrubs, and puts forth large branches, so that the birds of the air can make nests in its shade.’

Read Psalm 1:1-3
How do I see evidence that my life is fruitful for God?

Read Ephesians 4:14-16
In what ways has God called me to be part of his body of believers?

2 Corinthians 5:17
This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun!

In what ways is God continuing to transform me?

Lent 2014 Devotional – Week 6

This is the next-to-last installment of Cornerstone’s 2014 Lenten Devotional. We hope you have found it encouraging and helpful during this season. If you live in or around San Francisco, we also invite you to join us for Easter weekend. Click here for more details.

Theme: NEW BEGINNING
April 9 – 15

SCRIPTURE READINGLectio Divina
If you have never done Lectio Divina, don’t worry. Just click on the link above for a description. To start; get yourself into a comfortable reading position…take a few slow, deep breaths…and relax…let a few moments pass to clear your mind so that God’s word may come to rest within you. Now, you are ready to begin…and we pray that our Lord would richly bless you in this time of reflection!

The Woman in TeaMary_Magdalene_sculpturers
John 20:1, 11-18

Early on Sunday morning, while it was still dark, Mary Magdalene came to the tomb and found that the stone had been rolled away from the entrance…

Mary was standing outside the tomb crying, and as she wept, she stooped and looked in.She saw two white-robed angels, one sitting at the head and the other at the foot of the place where the body of Jesus had been lying.
“Dear woman, why are you crying?” the angels asked her.

“Because they have taken away my Lord,” she replied, “and I don’t know where they have put him.”

She turned to leave and saw someone standing there. It was Jesus, but she didn’t recognize him. “Dear woman, why are you crying?” Jesus asked her. “Who are you looking for?”

She thought he was the gardener. “Sir,” she said, “if you have taken him away, tell me where you have put him, and I will go and get him.”

“Mary!” Jesus said.

She turned to him and cried out, “Rabboni!” (which is Hebrew for “Teacher”).

 “Don’t cling to me,” Jesus said, “for I haven’t yet ascended to the Father. But go find my brothers and tell them, ‘I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.’”

Mary Magdalene found the disciples and told them, “I have seen the Lord!” Then she gave them his message.


MEDITATIVE READING
Timothy M. Gallagher

I watched Mary Magdalene come to the tomb in the early morning. She sees that the stone has been taken from the entrance…She does not look in, runs to find Simon and John, and returns after they leave the tomb.

Now she stands alone outside the tomb. She stands, unable to leave, afraid to look into the darkness of the tomb. Her tears fall…yet still she remains there. I watch with reverence, I seek to understand those tears…I sense that she seems frozen in her sorrow.

I marvel now at her courage: “As she wept she stooped to look into the tomb.” She faces her pain, her fear: she looks into the darkness of the tomb…and finds that it is not as empty as she feared. A process begins that leads her from her tears to the Lord.

The angels ask: “Woman, why are you weeping?” I hear this question directed to my heart as well: Why are you weeping? Why is your heart heavy as you live day by day?

She sees the “gardener,” not recognizing Jesus who is already there with her, even as her tears fall…”Woman, why are you weeping? Whom do you seek?” I answer this question, speaking to the Lord from my heart.

“Jesus said to her: ‘Mary.” Simply her name…I hear him pronounce my name…That one word says everything to me, as it does to Mary.

“Rabboni!” One word…which says everything. She knows now that he is alive, and will live forever, that he is with her, that his love will never leave her, that he calls her by name. She is no longer the woman in tears…I speak now to the Lord. I respond from my heart to his greeting.

The encounter becomes mission: “Go to my brethren and say to them…Mary Magdalene went and said to the disciples: “I have seen the Lord.” I feel the joy, the delight, the energy, with which she proclaims the risen Lord.

“I have seen the Lord.” I speak with Mary Magdalene, I speak now with Jesus, and ask that this too be the central reality of my life, and my message to the world.

Now I sit with Mary. I gaze upon her face, and see there her radiant joy. I see the deep happiness of knowing herself loved, loved infinitely, loved forever…My heart now speaks …

After the Prayer

1. What word in this Scripture most spoke to my heart?
2. What touched my heart in this time of prayer? What did my heart feel as I prayed?
3. What did I sense the Lord saying to me?


REFLECTION

The father took his only Son and sent him into the world so that through him the world might be saved. At the river Jordan and on Mount Tabor he blessed him with the words, “This is my Son, the Beloved, my favor rests on him…listen to him.” The blessed one was broken on a cross, “pierced through for our faults, crushed for our sins.” But through his death he gave himself to us as our food, thus fulfilling the words he spoke to his disciples at the last supper. “This is my body which will be given for you.”

It is in this life that is taken, blessed, broken, and given that Jesus Christ wants to make us participants. Therefore, while breaking bread with his disciples, he said, “Do this as a memorial of me.” When we eat bread and drink wine together in memory of Christ, we become intimately related to his own compassionate life. In fact, we become his life and are thus enabled to represent his life in our time and place.

Henri Nouwen
Show Me the Way, pp. 40-41.
Scripture references – John 3:16; Matthew 3:17 and 17:5; Isaiah 53:5; and Luke 22:19.


ADDITIONAL POINTS OF REFLECTION FOR THE WEEK
(Optional)

Mark 1:9-11
In those days Jesus came from Nazareth of Galilee and was baptized by John in the Jordan. And just as he was coming up out of the water, he saw the heavens torn apart and the Spirit descending like a dove on him. And a voice came from heaven, ‘You are my Son, the Beloved; with you I am well pleased.’

Read Mark 14:12-65 and 15:1-47
Out of obedience Jesus was baptized; out of obedience he suffered and died so that I can have new life. Does the way I live my life reflect that I embrace this gift — the gift of Christ’s life for me?

Read Psalm 22 and Isaiah 53
Jesus is available to me when I suffer. Am I available to him?

Read John 21:2-14
Have I learned to recognize the presence of the risen Lord in my life? Where and when have I seen him working wonders?

Lent 2014 Devotional – Week 5

Theme: HOPE
April 2 – 8

SCRIPTURE READINGLectio Divina
If you have never done Lectio Divina, don’t worry. Just click on the link above for a description. To start; get yourself into a comfortable reading position…take a few slow, deep breaths…and relax…let a few moments pass to clear your mind so that God’s word may come to rest within you. Now, you are ready to begin…and we pray that our Lord would richly bless you in this time of reflection!

hopeHope in God
Psalm 71:14-19

But I will hope continually,
  and will praise you yet more and more.
My mouth will tell of your righteous acts,
  of your deeds of salvation all day long,
  though their number is past my knowledge.
I will come praising the mighty deeds of the Lord God,
  I will praise your righteousness, yours alone.
O God, from my youth you have taught me,
  and I still proclaim your wondrous deeds.
So even to old age and grey hairs,
  O God, do not forsake me,
  until I proclaim your might to all the generations to come.
Your power and your righteousness, O God, reach the high heavens.
You who have done great things, O God, who is like you?


REFLECTION

The world in which we live today and about whose suffering we know so much seems more than ever a world from which Christ has withdrawn himself. How can I believe that in this world we are constantly being prepared to receive the Spirit? Still, I think that this is exactly the message of hope. God has not withdrawn himself. He sent his Spirit to lead us into the intimacy of his divine life. It is in the midst of the chaotic suffering of humanity that the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of Love, makes himself visible. But can we recognize his presence?

Henri Nouwen
Show Me the Way, p. 96


ADDITIONAL POINTS OF REFLECTION FOR THE WEEK
(Optional)

2 Chronicles 7:14
Then if my people who are called by my name will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sins and restore their land.

Do I truly place my hope in God? Does my prayer life and the worship I offer to God reflect my hope in him?

Read Mark 16:1-5
When they saw that the stone was rolled away from Jesus’ tomb, their first response was one of alarm. Do I go to a place of fear before I am able to experience hope? What are the emotional obstacles that keep me from experiencing hope?

Read Matthew 28:5-8
Have I ever had something happen that was hard to understand, something extraordinary and profound, something that triggered hope? Do I live my life with hope?

Lent 2014 Devotional – Week 4

Theme: LOVE
March 26 – April 1

SCRIPTURE READINGLectio Divina
If you have never done Lectio Divina, don’t worry. Just click on the link above for a description. To start; get yourself into a comfortable reading position…take a few slow, deep breaths…and relax…let a few moments pass to clear your mind so that God’s word may come to rest within you. Now, you are ready to begin…and we pray that our Lord would richly bless you in this time of reflection!

Christ-in-the-Garden-of-Olives-Paul-Gauguin-1889Not My Will but Your Will
Matthew 26:36-46

Then Jesus went with them to the olive grove called Gethsemane, and he said, “Sit here while I go over there to pray.” He took Peter and Zebedee’s two sons, James and John, and he became anguished and distressed. He told them, “My soul is crushed with grief to the point of death. Stay here and keep watch with me.”

He went on a little farther and bowed with his face to the ground, praying, “My Father! If it is possible, let this cup of suffering be taken away from me. Yet I want your will to be done, not mine.”

Then he returned to the disciples and found them asleep. He said to Peter, “Couldn’t you watch with me even one hour? 41 Keep watch and pray, so that you will not give in to temptation. For the spirit is willing, but the body is weak!”

Then Jesus left them a second time and prayed, “My Father! If this cup cannot be taken awayunless I drink it, your will be done.” When he returned to them again, he found them sleeping, for they couldn’t keep their eyes open.

So he went to pray a third time, saying the same things again. Then he came to the disciples and said, “Go ahead and sleep. Have your rest. But look—the time has come. The Son of Man is betrayed into the hands of sinners. Up, let’s be going. Look, my betrayer is here!”


MEDITATIVE READING
Timothy M. Gallagher

I accompany Jesus as now he enters his time of sorrow, of burden, the time of the cross…I ask him to show me, through his cross, the meaning of my own sorrows and burdens…

I join Jesus and the Eleven as they walk alongside the city walls toward the Garden of Gethsemane…It is night…I hear the quiet sounds of the night, I feel the heaviness in the hearts of the disciples. My heart too knows times of heaviness and foreboding…

“My soul is sorrowful even to death…”With great reverence, I ponder the sorrow of Jesus, a deep sorrow that.nearly overwhelms his life itself…What stirs in his heart? In my heart? I speak to him of my own sorrow…

Now I see Jesus go a little farther into the Garden…and he is alone. The three near him sleep. Humanly, he is utterly alone, in his time of need. My heart too knows what it means to feel alone…I speak to him…

His energy fails him…He falls on his face upon the earth, and a cry rises with anguish from his heart, to the Father: “If it is possible, let this cup pass from me…”There is in Jesus a deep, deep desire to be freed of the burden he carries, the burden that lies ahead: “If it be possible, let this cup pass from me…”How often I too have prayed that prayer: let this cup pass…the cup of physical weakness and pain, of responsibility, of struggles in relationships…I am there with Jesus, prostrate on the earth…

“Yet, not as I will, but as you will.” Two wills: “as I will,” “as you will.” And, though it costs his humanity so much, Jesus bows his will to that of the Father…I pray with him, I ask the courage to accept, like Jesus, the Father’s will in my life…

He comes, seeking the companionship and support of those close to him and they sleep But now I do not sleep…I speak to him…

I watch as, a second time, Jesus repeats his acceptance of the Father’s will: “My Father, if this cannot pass unless I drink it, your will be done.” And again, a third time … and still he is alone…

“Get up, let us go. Look, my betrayer is at hand.” His prayer has strengthened him, he is ready to face the cross…I pray for that same strength…

After the Prayer

1. What word in this Scripture most spoke to my heart?
2. What touched my heart in this time of prayer? What did my heart feel as I prayed?
3. What did I sense the Lord saying to me?

REFLECTION

. . Perhaps we must continually remind ourselves that the first commandment requiring us to love God with all our heart, all our soul, and all our mind is indeed the first. I wonder if we really believe this. It seems that in fact we live as if we should give as much of our heart, soul, and mind as possible to our fellow human beings, while trying hard not to forget God. At least we feel that our attention should be divided evenly between God and our neighbor. But Jesus’ claim is much more radical. He asks for a single-minded commitment to God and God alone. God wants all of our heart, all of our mind, and all of our soul. It is this unconditional and unreserved love for God that leads to the care for our neighbor, not as an activity which distracts us from God or competes with our attention to God, but as an expression of our love for God who reveals himself to us as the God of all people. It is in God that we find our neighbors and discover our responsibility to them. We might even say that only in God does our neighbor become a neighbor rather than an infringement upon our autonomy, and that only in and through God does service become possible.

Henri Nouwen
Show Me the Way, pp. 22-23


ADDITIONAL POINTS OF REFLECTION FOR THE WEEK
(Optional)

Deuteronomy 6:4-9
Hear, O Israel: The Lord is our God, the Lord alone. You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your might. Keep these words that I am commanding you today in your heart. Recite them to your children and talk about them when you are at home and when you are away, when you lie down and when you rise. Bind them as a sign on your hand, fix them as an emblem on your forehead, and write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.

Read Psalm 139:13-18
God asks that I love him completely. How does this psalm demonstrate his complete love for me?

Read Luke 7:36-50
What areas of my life do I allow to separate me from God? What am I most ashamed of? Is there anything I have a hard time believing God would forgive?

Read Luke 23:32-45
How did Jesus reveal his love for others even in the final minutes of his life? Jesus submitted to death to bring forth new life. How has death touched my life? Have I ever embraced death in order to bring forth new life?

Lent 2014 Devotional – Week 3

Theme: BELIEVING
March 19 – 25

SCRIPTURE READINGLectio Divina
If you have never done Lectio Divina, don’t worry. Just click on the link above for a description. To start; get yourself into a comfortable reading position…take a few slow, deep breaths…and relax…let a few moments pass to clear your mind so that God’s word may come to rest within you. Now, you are ready to begin…and we pray that our Lord would richly bless you in this time of reflection!

carav10Jesus Appears to Thomas
John 20:24-29

One of the twelve disciples, Thomas (nicknamed the Twin), was not with the others when Jesus came. They told him, “We have seen the Lord!”

But he replied, “I won’t believe it unless I see the nail wounds in his hands, put my fingers into them, and place my hand into the wound in his side.” Eight days later the disciples were together again, and this time Thomas was with them. The doors were locked; but suddenly, as before, Jesus was standing among them. “Peace be with you,” he said.Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here, and look at my hands. Put your hand into the wound in my side. Don’t be faithless any longer. Believe!”

“My Lord and my God!” Thomas exclaimed.

Then Jesus told him, “You believe because you have seen me. Blessed are those who believe without seeing me.”


REFLECTION
In Jesus no division existed between his words and his actions, between what he said and what he did. Jesus’ words were his action, his words were events. They not only spoke about changes, cures, new life, but they actually created them. In this sense, Jesus is truly the Word made flesh; in that Word all is created and by that Word all is recreated.

Henri Nouwen
Show Me the Way, p. 71


ADDITIONAL POINTS OF REFLECTION FOR THE WEEK
(Optional)

Numbers 23:19
God is not a human being, that he should lie, or a mortal, that he should change his mind. Has he promised, and will he not do it? Has he spoken, and will he not fulfill it?

Reflecting on John 20:24-29 (above)
How does Jesus address Thomas’ doubts? How can I find evidence of the resurrection in my own wounds? Jesus said, “Peace be with you.” Can I hear this?

Read Genesis 22:1-18
How has my belief in God’s promises been tested? I consider verse 13, in which Abraham sees a ram and uses it as a substitution for the sacrifice he must make to God. In what ways has Jesus substituted himself for me, paying for my life so that I can be forever in his presence? Knowing this, can I believe in God’s promises to me?

Read Psalm 18:25-36
What evidence do I have in my life that God’s path for my life is the only perfect way?

Lent 2014 Devotional – Week 2

Theme: CLEANSING
March 12 – 18

SCRIPTURE READINGLectio Divina
If you have never done Lectio Divina, don’t worry. Just click on the link above for a description. To start; get yourself into a comfortable reading position…take a few slow, deep breaths…and relax…let a few moments pass to clear your mind so that God’s word may come to rest within you. Now, you are ready to begin…and we pray that our Lord would richly bless you in this time of reflection!

Jesus-washing-feet-14Jesus Washes His Disciples Feet
John 13:5-15
Then he poured water into a basin and began to wash the disciples’ feet and to wipe them with the towel he was wearing.

When he came to Simon Peter, Simon said to him, “Why, Lord, you want to wash my feet!” Jesus said, “What I am doing you cannot understand now, but afterward you will understand it.” Peter replied, “You shall never wash my feet.” Jesus answered him, “If I do not wash you, you can have no part with me.” Then Simon Peter said, “Lord, wash not only my feet, but also my hands and my head!”

Jesus replied, “Whoever has taken a bath does not need to wash (except the feet), for he is clean all over. You are clean, though not all of you.” Jesus knew who was to betray him; because of this he said, “Not all of you are clean.”

When Jesus had finished washing their feet, he put on his garment again, went back to the table and said to them, “Do you understand what I have done to you? You call me Master and Lord, and you are right, for so I am. If I, then, your Lord and Master, have washed your feet, you also must wash one another’s feet. I have just given you an example that as I have done, you also may do.”

MEDITATIVE READINGMichael Kennedy
waiting to see who climbed the steps to the upper room
it seemed no one was watching us
everything ready inside

nervous energy around the table
taking off my outer garment
drooping towel over shoulder
going to a small table at the corner of the room
picking up large basin
no one seemed to be paying much attention to anything

came back to the larger table
knelt in front of peter
put your feet inside this basin
i want to clean your feet

now every eye In the room was focused on us
how hard it has been for all my friends to realize
we are all equal
the power games played were relentless
the efforts to be more important never stopped
so i wanted to give my friends an example
with my own life
to wash dirty feet
to wash feet
putting the towel over my arm
this thought of being a foot washer
gave me joy

so many times after we healed on the hillside
the crowds wanted to make me someone important
in those moments
i always had this strong love for my abba
knowing everything
everything i have received from him
realizing i was totally dependent
on this love from my abba

was good to see faces
relieved from so much suffering
healed of living years in misery
but when they wanted to seize me
make me their leader
i felt this love strong for my abba
knew not to be fooled by these requests to be famous
how hard i have tried during these years
to show how important it is
not to seek our own self-importance
for we are but humble servants of our abba who gives all

putting peter’s feet in the basin

jesus
what are you doing?
has the pressure of these days gotten to you?
what’s wrong?
you’re our master
only servants wash other people’s feet
i can’t let you wash my feet
never
this is not your work

jesus
you have a following
people respect you
you are looked upon as a leader
looking into jesus’ eyes
i could tell he was serious about washing my feet
he looked at me
smiled
lighting up the whole room

jesus grabbed hold of my feet
placing them in the basin
feeling warm water
cleaning caked-on dirt
what was happening?
here
the one I respect more than any other
is washing my feet
now with his hands loosening dirt
splashing warm water
an immense joy spread throughout my being

jesus
i know i want to be like you more than anything else in the world
to be like you
i never thought i would be asking you to also let me
stoop down take off my garments wash the feet
of the poorest among us
to be like you
i know i will never forget this moment
of feeling you clean my feet and doing it with such love
to do the same i also want to learn to wash feet
to be a foot washer
not to seek after the delusion of fame of glory
to learn every day to stoop down
to do this simple task will put me in touch with you
and what you also deeply desire for us
to be foot washers
to wash other’ feet
to be at the bottom
not to seek to be at the top
to be a foot washer
thank you jesus for this example

After the reading
1. Can I let Jesus wash my feet? What did I feel as I heard of Jesus’ hands washing Simon Peter’s feet, “loosening dirt, splashing warm water?”

2. Whose feet do I wash? In what ways do I wash their feet?

3. Do I allow others to wash my feet? In what ways does that happen?

REFLECTION
God’s mercy is greater than our sins. There is an awareness of sin that does not lead to God but to self-preoccupation. Our temptation is to be so impressed by our sins and failings and so overwhelmed by our lack of generosity that we get stuck in a paralyzing guilt. It is the guilt that says: “I am too sinful to deserve God’s mercy.” It is the guilt that leads to introspection instead of directing our eyes to God. It is the guilt that has become an idol and therefore a form of pride. Lent is the time to break down this idol and to direct our attention to our loving Lord. The question is: “Are we like Judas, who was so overcome by his sin that he could not believe in God’s mercy any longer and hanged himself, or are we like Peter who returned to his Lord with repentance and cried bitterly for his sins?” The season of Lent, during which winter and spring struggle with each other for dominance, helps us in a special way to cry out for God’s mercy.

Henri Nouwen
Show Me the Way, p. 14


ADDITIONAL POINTS OF REFLECTION FOR THE WEEK
(Optional)

Psalm 51:1-12
Have mercy on me, O God,
  according to your steadfast love;
  according to your abundant mercy
  blot out my transgressions.
Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity,
  and cleanse me from my sin.
For I know my transgressions,
  and my sin is ever before me.
Against you, you alone, have I sinned,
  and done what is evil in your sight,
  so that you are justified in your sentence
  and blameless when you pass judgment.
Indeed, I was born guilty,
  a sinner when my mother conceived me.
You desire truth in the inward being;
  therefore teach me wisdom in my secret heart.
Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean;
  wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.
Let me bear joy and gladness;
  let the bones that you have crushed rejoice.
Hide your face from my sins,
  and blot out all my iniquities.
Create in me a clean heart, O God,
  and put a new and right spirit within me.
Do not cast me away from your presence,
  and do not take your holy spirit from me.
Restore to me the joy of your salvation,
  and sustain in me a willing spirit.

Read Luke 22:31-32 and 54-62
When have I failed to live true to what I believe? Do I allow Jesus to heal the wounds that guilt has inflicted? Can I believe that Jesus is working in me and developing my integrity?

Galatians 5:1
So Christ has truly set us free. Now make sure that you stay free, and don’t get tied up again in slavery to the law.

Who helps me stand firm in the Lord?

Read John 13:1-17
Jesus says, “Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another’s feet.” What does this mean to me?

Lent 2014 Devotional – Week 1

Theme: OPENNESS
March 5 – 11

SCRIPTURE READINGLectio Divina
If you have never done Lectio Divina, don’t worry. Just click on the link above for a description. To start; get yourself into a comfortable reading position…take a few slow, deep breaths…and relax…let a few moments pass to clear your mind so that God’s word may come to rest within you. Now, you are ready to begin…and we pray that our Lord would richly bless you in this time of reflection!

Healing-the-Blind-El-GrecoTwo Blind Men Receive Their Sight
Matthew 20:30-34
There were two blind men sitting by the roadside. When they heard that Jesus was passing by, they shouted, ‘Lord, have mercy on us, Son of David!’ The crowd sternly ordered them to be quiet; but they shouted even more loudly, ‘Have mercy on us, Lord, Son of David!’ Jesus stood still and called them, saying, ‘What do you want me to do for you?’ They said to him, ‘Lord, let our eyes be opened.’ Moved with compassion, Jesus touched their eyes. Immediately they regained their sight and followed him.

REFLECTION
Jesus’ response to the ignorant, the hungry, the blind, the lepers, the widows, and all those who came to him with their suffering, flowed from the divine compassion which led God to become one of us. We need to pay close attention to Jesus’ words and actions if we are to gain insight into the mystery of this divine compassion. We would misunderstand the many miraculous stories in the Gospels if we were to be impressed simply by the fact that sick and tormented people were suddenly liberated from their pains. If this were indeed the central event of these stories, a cynic might rightly remark that most people during Jesus’ day were not cured and that those who were cured only made it worse for those who were not. What is important here is not the cure of the sick, but the deep compassion that moved Jesus to these cures.

Henri Nouwen
Show Me the Way, p. 104


ADDITIONAL POINTS OF REFLECTION FOR THE WEEK
(Optional)

Romans 5:8-10
But God showed his great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners. And since we have been made right in God’s sight by the blood of Christ, he will certainly save us from God’s condemnation. For since our friendship with God was restored by the death of his Son while we were still his enemies, we will certainly be saved through the life of his Son.

What can I do to be open to God’s love? What can I do to allow God’s saving love to change my heart and way of life? What do I want the Lord to do for me?

Read Jonah 1 through 3:3
What changed in Jonah’s heart, finally allowing him to become open to obeying the word of the Lord?

Acts 2:42-47
All the believers devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching, and to fellowship, and to sharing in meals (including the Lord’s Supper), and to prayer. A deep sense of awe came over them all, and the apostles performed many miraculous signs and wonders. And all the believers met together in one place and shared everything they had. They sold their property and possessions and shared the money with those in need. They worshiped together at the Temple each day, met in homes for the Lord’s Supper, and shared their meals with great joy and generosity — all the while praising God and enjoying the goodwill of all the people. And each day the Lord added to their fellowship those who were being saved.

What does it look like to be open to God in a community with others who are also experiencing the transforming love of Christ?