You could think of the time between Ash Wednesday and Easter as something of a gloomy time, a time of “giving up” something, but I have always seen Lent as a time to take onsomething… to take on a fresh seeking of the Lord, to acknowledge that my spiritual life can feel run down just like everyday life and that I want to refresh my relationship with my Lord.
For that reason, I have always found Lent to be a hopeful season. Yes, it is a reflective time to consider the life of Jesus, however it is also a time to re-discover the passion and love our Lord has for us today.
The very word Lent is a hopeful word. It comes from a Middle English word meaning springtime. We may not see spring yet, there is snow and ice everywhere, but spring is coming. Our God promised the Jews in Exile in Babylon, “When you search for me, you will find me; if you seek me with all your heart, I will let you find me…” Jeremiah 29:13-14a.*
Just as we know spring is on the way, so we know that when we seek, we will find the Lord. Be a seeker. Renew your own inner desire to know God more deeply and personally.
Take on some specific spiritual discipline, some deliberate pattern by which you may seek the Lord during these few weeks of Lent. For example, simply read a half-chapter a day of one of the four gospels and allow the ministry of Jesus to touch you personally. And/or keep a daily spiritual journal recording your own thoughts about your own experience of God and reflections about your Lord.
May you seek and know more deeply the God who loves you this Lent.
With joy- E. Stanley Ott Copyright 2013 E. Stanley Ott *Scripture from the NRSV.
Lent is the season of the year that begins tomorrow with Ash Wednesday and culminates in the celebration of the resurrection on Easter Sunday. It is a great time to rekindle your faith. Here are two wonderful prayers to use during these days as a way of offering yourself to our loving Lord.
John Wesley’s Covenant Prayer
I am no longer my own, but yours. Put me to what you will, rank me with whom you will; put me to doing, put me to suffering. Let me be employed by you, or laid aside by you, exalted by you or brought low by you. Let me be full, let me be empty. Let me have all things, let me have nothing. I freely and heartily yield all things to your pleasure and disposal. And now, O glorious and blessed God, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, you are mine, and I am yours. So be it. And the covenant which I have made on earth, Let it be ratified in heaven. Amen.
Hannah Whitall Smith- The Christian's Secret of a Happy Life
Lord, I am yours; I do yield myself up entirely to you, and I believe that you do take me. I leave myself with you. Work in me all the good pleasure of your will and I will only lie still in your hands and trust you. Amen
May these prayers - and your own prayers - encourage your heart and stir your devotion to our Lord!
With joy- E. Stanley Ott Copyright 2013 E. Stanley Ott
I awoke on a Sunday morning a few weeks ago and out of the blue the words and melody of Carly Rae Jepson singing the pop song, “Call Me Maybe” started bounding around my head. I just smiled and went about our normal Sunday routine.
As I listened to the sermon in church later that morning, there was an encouragement to pray for the people in our lives and suddenly three separate thoughts blended into one.
First, I thought of my tendency to look at my cell phone when I really could be or should be paying attention to the world around me.
Second, the words to the pop song came rushing back, except it wasn’t Carly Rae Jepson singing, it was our Lord saying to me, “Here’s my number, call Me maybe!” Or to put it more bluntly, “Hey, Stan talk to me!”
Third, the word of the sermon to pray!
In a flash all three thoughts came together and I realized every time I had the impulse to grab the cell phone I could take it as a call to pray – to put the phone away and offer a word of thanks or praise or intercession to the Lord who loves us and to be aware of life around me!
So I’ve been working at it. Perfectly? No, however I am way better. The phone is less a master and the opportunity to touch base with the Lord who loves me and to observe the world around me has been huge.
“Call to me and I will answer you, and will tell you great and hidden things which you have not known.” Jeremiah 33:3*
With joy- E. Stanley Ott Copyright 2013 E. Stanley Ott *Scripture from the NRSV