In this season of Lent, we have the opportunity to prepare the soil of our lives for the resurrection of Jesus. It is only Jesus who conquers all the brokenness of this world.
I'm grateful for a number of things that have crossed my path in significant ways in this Lenten season already. I share a few of them with you not because I think they will all be meaningful to all of you but because I hope that some of them will be useful to some of you.
LITANY FOR LENT
Here's a litany that may help draw you to grace-filled practices these next weeks as you anticipate new life:
Fast from judging others; Feast on Christ dwelling in them.
Fast from apparent darkness; Feast on the reality of Light.
Fast from pessimism; Feast on optimism.
Fast from thoughts of illness; Feast on the healing power of God.
Fast from words that pollute; Feast on phrases that purify.
Fast from anger; Feast on patience.
Fast from worry; Feast on unceasing prayer.
Fast from complaining; Feast on appreciation.
Fast from hostility; Feast on non-resistance.
Fast from bitterness; Feast on forgiveness.
Fast from anxiety; Feast on hope.
Fast from yourself; Feast on a silent heart.
Quoted in Steve Bell's book Lent in his "Pilgrim Year" Series (p. 19)
INVITATION TO THE PSALMS
The psalms are another way of turning to God during Lent. Eugene Peterson helps us understand the psalms as responses to God that we too can pray.
Mike Janzen, a gifted musician, suffered from a debilitating concussion which left him in isolation for years. The psalms were his prayers and, as he emerged from the darkness, a collection of songs rooted in the psalms emerged with him.
Mike's work is worth exploring to see if it might help you answer God in these times of isolation.
- Find The Psalm Project Vol. I & II on your preferred music streaming platform.
- Psalm 131 is a sample on YouTube that emphasizes Fr. Dean's reminder that Jesus is the Bread we need. There are others posted on YouTube.
- If you'd like something a bit more lighthearted, this song reminds us that healing often happens bit by bit.
- Or look for his instrumental album "Lent"
Another way to engage the psalms is through Malcolm Guite's poetic responses to the psalms. They also come out of a time of isolation - for him it was the first pandemic lockdown.
- Visit Malcolm's blog to listen to and/or read his responses to the Psalms
Prayer books and apps
Of course, you can use our prayer books (Book of Common Prayer or Book of Alternative Services) and the daily office that's laid out in each of them to include the psalms in your daily rhythms.
The Common Prayer Canada app is a great way to learn to pray the daily office - including the psalms.
FINALLY, A POEM
It doesn’t have to be
the blue iris, it could be
weeds in a vacant lot, or a few
small stones; just
pay attention, then patch
a few words together and don’t try
to make them elaborate, this isn’t
a contest but the doorway
into thanks, and a silence in which
another voice may speak.
— Mary Oliver
Grace and peace,