Lenten Reflections

“Capture the Moment”

Lenten Reflection – March 16

Mark 9:2-13

Rev. Bill Dennler


If you are like me, your digital video recorder stays pretty full.  In fact, I often find myself having to delete movies or TV shows in order to make more room for more to record. I am obsessed with recording things that I think I might want to watch at a later time.  Unfortunately, that time seems never to be available and the interest wanes.

The disciples, after climbing a mountain, are shocked by what they saw—the Transfiguration of Jesus and Mark tells us that they’re “terrified.”  Peter is so petrified that he didn’t know what to say. Peter, speechless?  No, he blurts out that it would be good to capture the moment by erecting tents for safe keeping. He wants to keep it there—the moment, the experience. He wants to capture what cannot be captured.

It is easy to remember times that were so big in my life. If I can remember anything about them, one thing was certain, I wanted to relive those times. There have been other times, times in which everything seemed to be just right. Times in which I, too was rendered speechless. They have almost always been in the context of ministry—in conversation with a sufferer, in working with others, or even in that rarely sought after, quiet time. “Just right” moments cannot be recorded or maintained. We have them when they happen. I fear that capturing them, would somehow render them unimportant. There is more work to be done.



“Deny Myself”

Lenten Reflection – March 15

Mark 8:27-9:1

Monetha Reaves


Open my heart, Dear God.  Help me to deny myself, and having taken up my cross, to follow the teachings of Your Son, so that my life may be saved in You.  Let me understand and perform the task which You have set before me, and just as at Caesarea Philippi, Christ explained to the people the need for His great suffering and sacrifice and taught them that to be true Christians, they, too, must put aside self, pick up their crosses, and follow him, to serve the purpose for which You placed them upon the earth.  For we are all Your children, God, and belong to You and not ourselves, and at some time we will each be called upon by You to perform some needed task, but we each have a choice, and if we are truly believers in you and in the teachings of your Son, we will pick up our crosses and follow Christ’s example to do want you, my Lord and Father, have asked.


Beyond Good And Bad

Lenten Reflection – March 14

Genesis 50:15-26

Chris Minton

Anxiety separates me from the Peace that passes all understanding.  When I take the time to pause and look beneath my anxiety I find fear.  And that fear is always the same – fear that things are not going to go the way I want.   The story of Joseph’s rise in Egypt reminds me that this fear is born from a lack of faith.

When Joseph’s brothers cast him into a pit, Joseph encountered a reality that did not mesh with his secular plans.  But this mistreatment was an indispensable precursor to Joseph’s arrival in Egypt, his rise to power there, and his use of that power to save lives from starvation.  As Joseph explained to his brothers, “You meant evil against me, but God meant it for good.”  Genesis 50:20.

When events occur, I know only whether they are unfolding as I want.  If so, I label them “good.”  If not, I label them “bad.”  My anxiety comes from worry that I will label a future event “bad.”  But I do not have the understanding to know the effects that today’s events will foster tomorrow.  The story of Joseph reminds me that only God comprehends that.

When I become anxious that my plans will not pan out, I am substituting my short-sighted, egotistical, vision for a faith that God will provide.  When I recline in that trust my anxieties dissipate, and I get back the Peace God intends for me.


The Same Old Story?

Lenten Reflection—March 13

Mark 8:1-10

The Reverend Deacon Rebecca Weiner Tompkins

Another week, another miracle—Mark gives us his account of a very similar situation to the selection of five days ago. As previously, Jesus turns meager amounts of bread and fish into a feast for those who follow him.

Do we take for granted the repeated power of Jesus through our scriptural readings? We’ve heard and seen and sung it all before. As we sit in our same pew, we count on knowing that God is with us. Has God become a kind of insurance for us as the liturgical cycles cycle through the years?

What if we listen and see anew?

In John’s gospel (4:31-38) from today’s commemoration of James Theodore Holly, First African American Bishop in the Episcopal Church and Bishop of Haiti, an abolitionist and activist who fought for a church free from racism and inequality, Jesus says, while the disciples anticipate a future harvest: “But I tell you, look around you, and see how the fields are ripe for harvesting.” The seeds have been long-planted so all is actually ready now. The loaves, the fishes await. The transformative outcome is up to us. What kind of seemingly miraculous change can we be part of, inspired by those who’ve shown us how, like Bishop Holly, like Jesus?

When we believe and act with our faith regarding whatever seems impossible, but is as new and amazing and possible as someone walking on water, or feeding a crowd from a meal for a few, or radically challenging injustice and division, we bring back our first surprise at what Jesus does over and over, like it never happened before, and suddenly, as the poet Denise Levertov writes:

then it is that the miracle

walks in…,

opens the locks,…

…you step free and at once

he turns to go—


with what radiant joy he turns to you,

and raises you to your feet,…

before he vanishes.”

As we are still here, truly so is He, with the same old story, always new.


Steadfast Love and Faithfulness

Lenten Reflection – March 12

Psalm 89

Cathy Link

As I look out of the window on this dark, rainy and dreary Sunday evening, pondering the scripture readings designated for tomorrow, March 12th, I am struck by the blackness of my mood. The weather in Lent often matches the heaviness of the season and our hearts. It is a season for searching out that blackness and asking for forgiveness. These are the steps we take to make ourselves ready to accept God’s amazing grace and let the light of Easter in, as we feel that darkness slowly slip away.

It is our designated psalm, No. 89, that speaks to my heart. The heaviness and weariness that I feel is suddenly lifted with the golden words of the psalmist: “For who in the skies can be compared to the Lord? Who among the heavenly beings is like the Lord? O Lord of Hosts, who is as mighty as you? Your faithfulness surrounds you. You rule the raging of the sea, when the waves rise, you still them. Righteousness and justice are the foundations of your throne; steadfast love and faithfulness go before you.”

So as the world around me seems to rage and be incoherent and my mind and heart are often matching, I read these words and hope springs up within me, just as surely as this dark day will be replaced with sunshine and warm breezes.

Thanks be to God.


The Importance of Worship

Lenten Reflection March 9

Psalm 95: 1-7

Rev. Charlie Grimes

Psalm 95 provides us with a time to pause and reorient our thinking and practices concerning the importance of worship. Worship helps to turn our attention and affection toward God.

We are always in the presence of God in the ultimate sense and our Church community offers us a special way to practice our faith while we celebrate God’s presence. We are offered the opportunity to be in God’s presence each Sunday as we celebrate the Eucharist.  It is a beautiful and proper call to worship.

Psalm 95: 1-7
1 Come, let us sing to the Lord; let us shout for joy to the Rock of our salvation.
2 Let us come before his presence with thanksgiving and raise a loud shout to him with psalms.
3 For the Lord is a great God, and a great King above all gods.
4 In his hand are the caverns of the earth, and the heights of the hills are his also.
5 The sea is his, for he made it, and his hands have molded the dry land.
6 Come, let us bow down, and bend the knee, and kneel before the Lord our Maker.
7 For he is our God, and we are the people of his pasture and the sheep of his hand. Oh, that today you would hearken to his voice!


“Love Builds Up”

Lenten Reflection – March 8

1 Corinthians 8:1-13

Pam Bradley Smith

I feel the Apostle Paul in one of his many letters to the Corinthians gives us pause for question and conversation. The first question is whether it is ok for Christians to eat meat that has been sacrificed to pagan gods? The second is what do we do with knowledge?  Those of us, who think we are learned and know a lot about something, do not yet know as we ought to. What we should know is that we are no worse if we do not eat, and no better if we do, food does not bring us near to GodMy favorite part of the letter states that while all of us possess knowledge; knowledge puffs up while love builds up. Imagine what our spiritual landscape would look like if we were all pillars of love.

Paul goes on to reference a weak brother or sister who may pattern their behavior after what we do, thinking it is right. Proceed with caution! Our beloved for whom Christ died, can be destroyed by our knowledge. Therefore, if what I eat causes my brother or sister to fall into sin, I will never eat meat again, so that I will not cause them to fall. At the end of one of Fr. Bill’s sermons, he asked the question “Am I my brothers’ keeper?” And quickly answered, no, I am my brothers’ brother.



“The Miracle of the Loaves and Fishes”

Lenten Reflection – March 7th

Mark 6:30-46

Cathy Link

What’s not to love about today’s story of the loaves and the fishes in the 6th chapter of the  Gospel of Mark? I can just hear the story being read in my childhood Sunday School class and clearly see the pictures on the storyboard of Jesus and his disciples passing out bread and fish from those big baskets to all the thousands of people sprinkled about the hills. A Jesus miracle for sure! My childish imagination was filled with the sights, sounds and smells of that evening of teaching, preaching and the best church supper ever.

But today, as a grown-up, how do I, how are we to understand this miracle? Are we not just like the disciples who suggested Jesus just send them packing to forge for themselves? You see, the disciples were afraid…afraid of having too little, of giving up what they did have. A quote of Fr. Bill’s comes to mind: “ We operate out of scarcity rather than abundance.” This is how the disciples were thinking, and it is how we too often operate as well. The meaning of the miracle of feeding the 5000 is that there is always enough. It is our hearts hardened with greed and fear that must be opened to share. As Jesus said, “You give them something to eat.”


“Joseph’s Faith and Trust”

Lenten Reflection – March 6

Genesis 45: 1-15

Joyce Ball

Joseph is one of my favorite Biblical figures.  The pain he must have endured as a teenager and young adult is unimaginable, however the manner in which God delivered him is wonderful and powerful.  There is so much we can learn from the story of Joseph’s life.

Joseph was the apple of his father’s eye, and he had a dream.  He made the mistake of sharing that dream with his older brothers, who were envious and jealous of him.  They conspired against Joseph, cast him into a pit, then sold him to the Ishmaelites, who took him captive into Egypt.

Still, God was with Joseph, and he prospered.  Unbeknownst to Joseph or his brothers, God had major plans for Joseph in Egypt.  Joseph did not lose faith in God, even after the betrayal of his brothers, the lies of Potiphar’s wife and spending several years in prison.  God was working on Joseph, preparing him for a great role.

Like Joseph, we must trust God and never doubt that He is working behind the scene to prepare us for the journey.  The pain, the heartaches, the disappointments and the setbacks we face sometimes happen to frustrate our purpose and plans.

Joseph’s faith and trust in God, and his ability to forgive, enabled him to become a very powerful man in a foreign land.


“Desperation or Faith”

Lenten Reflection – March 5

Mark 5:21-43

Rev. Bill Dennler

Desperation causes people to act in ways that they never would. Singly focused minds do not allow us to realize they are. Desperation causes one to be deaf, dumb, and even blind.  We are compelled to do, say, believe things that our minds would never allow. But when one is desperate, rationality becomes inaccessible. A mind, once rational, now thinks that anything is possible. When we are desperate, there’s something that draws us to what is primal in our being.  And yet, could it be that desperation births a faith so powerful that we believe that miracles are not miraculous?

When Jairus, the synagogue leader sought Jesus, he did so because his daughter was dying. While she lay on a bed, not moving, Jairus moved as he laid at the feet of Jesus. All he requested was a touch, just a touch of Jesus’ hand. Was his posture an indication of just how desperate he was?  Or, did it make evident a faith like no others?  The unclean woman made her way through the tight-knit crowd, wiggling her arm through packed bodies just to touch. Was she desperate enough to believe that she only needed to touch Jesus’ clothes? Jesus did not say that. He said, “your faith has made you well…” The people told Jairus to give it up, Jesus said, “Do not fear, only believe.” All Jairus could do, was block out indifference.

Was it faith, or desperation? The answer can only be, yes it was!


With Us “In The Boat”

Lenten Reflection – March 2

Mark 4:35-41

The Reverend Deacon Rebecca Weiner Tompkins


Throughout Scripture, angels bring messages from God, announcing, “Be not afraid,” to allay the person’s fear at being confronted by an unearthly being. It works, and all is well. Mary, and Joseph, and the shepherds, all discover the revelation of the gift that God has given: his son.

Fear is the most obvious touchstone in Mark’s gospel along with faith; put those two words together into a search engine and one can see how many spiritual bloggers and theological scholars have pondered the point and used the phrase to title their speculation and its answer about how the disciples feel tossing upon the wind-swept waves. We can relate certainly to the story, and the meaning. Life is scary: love, loss, illness, death, the unknown and the known, all fraught with peril. The men are on the water in a storm, and Jesus is sleeping. They expect him to help them, to protect them, but because he is not awake it seems he does not care about what is happening. However, as usual, he is able to do something miraculous, and omnipotent, quite easily, making everything all right, which they marvel at, yet still do not see that it is their own faith in him that can conquer their fear. In asking why do they “still” have no faith, he is asking what will it take for them to truly believe?  With faith, that peace will come as surely to them, to us, as it does to the wind and sea.

In our own lives we may feel God is asleep and therefore we are alone in the boat, tossing amidst waves that threaten to overcome us, and float our faith away.  Just as they take Jesus with them when he says “let us go across to the other side,” once we make a place for God in our own boats, no bad weather can truly swamp us, or overcome the calm that awed those first disciples.


A Rock of Refuge–A Strong Fortress

Lenten Reflection, March 1st, 2018

Psalm 71

Cathy Link

Psalms can be lyrical. They can be comforting. They can be violent and terrifying. They are poetry, they are prayers, they are plea’s, and they are songs of praise. Often, they can be all of these together.

Today’s psalmist praises God all day long. He pleads with God to deliver and rescue him, to save him, to hear him. He reminds God that He is his refuge, his rock, his fortress. He tells of the great things God has done for him, even delivering him safely from his mother’s womb, reminding us that even our entrance into this world is a holy and remarkable event. He begs to be saved from the unjust and cruel parts of life that he feels overwhelmed by. Woven throughout this psalm are references to the psalmist as “aging”. “Do not forsake me when my strength is spent.” He reminds God that he has accepted his teachings since he was a youth and that he will continue to praise him even to an old age with graying hair.

How comforting to hear this song of a long life lived well with the Lord, where even though we often feel swallowed up by the unjust and wicked in this world, God is our rock. Even though we grow old and our eyes grow dime and our hearing fades, God is always there as our great comforter and we shall sing his praises all the day long.


“Weeping, Forgiveness and Prayer”

Lenten Reflection February 28

Genesis 42:18-28

Rev. Charlie Grimes


When Joseph saw and heard the brothers who had sold him into slavery, he wept. The weight of it overwhelmed him. Looking forward and embracing a new way of living, required Joseph to look past the hurt of his brothers’ hatred, the bitterness and resentment over what they had done to him, the longing for the family life that could have been and the pride that might have tempted him to seek revenge.  So, Joseph wept.  His weeping involved a deeper and more adult expression of grief; a higher, emotional sense of loss.


When the weight of everything overwhelms us, perhaps all we can do is join our voices with Jesus as when he was crying from the cross, “Father, forgive them.” Perhaps all we can do is tell God that the weight is too heavy for us, the brokenness of this world too powerful, the pain put upon us too unforgivable. Perhaps all we can do is weep under its weight. Then we can be redeemed by the blood Jesus shed for the forgiveness of even those sins that are too painful for us to forgive ourselves.


Eternal God, forgive us where we have failed to seek reconciliation, where we seek revenge rather than reunion. By the power of your Spirit, help us to weep for all the hearts that are broken and suffering. Then, as we trust in your forgiveness and reconciling work, give us the grace to lay to rest the old and live in the newness of life you have brought to us through forgiveness, love and compassion. Amen.


“Love and Forgiveness”

Lenten Reflection – February 27

Genesis 42:1-17

Brenda Hubbard

The story of Joseph and his coat of many colors is one of the first Bible stories I was told that has remained with me throughout my life.  Joseph was victimized by his brothers out of jealousy who went from a plot to kill him that diminished to throwing him into a waterless pit. It is for certain that we cannot pick our family and Joseph was no exception to this rule.  In many cases, this may seem to be a bit unfortunate, and except for Joseph’s dad, so it seemed to him.

Joseph obviously had the favor of God upon him from his youth as seemingly by his dream.  What about you!  How many times were you told you would never amount to anything?  However; when God says to you, “I know the plans I have for you” (Jer.29:11), no one can stop those plans from becoming a reality in your life.  It’s in our darkest hour that God will show Himself strong.  He did for Joseph in many instances, and HE will do the same for us, as He is “no respecter of person” (Acts 10:34).  Lies, deception and bringing pain to others will always end badly for the perpetrators.

People who have been treated as Joseph was treated through the years would have had only one thing in mind—to get even.  Not Joseph!  After their final encounter forgiveness flooded his heart.  We are never to do evil for evil.  Let us always allow love and forgiveness to rule our response to the wrongs done to us.


“Love, Care, and Kindness”

Lenten Reflection – February 26

Psalm 65

Larrence Perry

This is a powerful testament to the unfailing love, care, and kindness of our Father. This song tells us how lucky we are to have the Father who cares for us. No matter what we have done, it will do… he has the capacity to overlook our sins and faults. If we but come to Him thru his son our Savior, Jesus.

The song tells us that if we but come to him thru Jesus, we can have a comfortable relationship-and all that all we need and want he will provide.  The Psalmist also suggest that praise is due to Him for that bounty.

As I write, I reflect upon how great, good and kind our God has been to me. I have faced adversity, illness, pain, and loss all in a very short time in my life.  But my faith,  constant prayer and my uncanny belief like Job,  that tho He slay me,  still will I trust Him… has allowed me to come thru all,  not unscathed,  but with a greater appreciation for how much God loves us if we but trust Him… and give ourselves to Him.


“A Symphony of Stars”

Lenten Reflection – February 23

Psalm 19

Rev. Bill Dennler

Recently, I watched the movie, Meru, a film that particularly portrayed the lives of three mountain climbers, who were drawn to an overwhelming desire, more than once, to climb one of the most dangerous mountains in the world. Danger and beauty live together. The severity of this granite mountain against the night sky was breathtaking. The stars appeared to be dancing and the light was so intense that no star could have been left behind. It was a silent opus of light that seemed to crescendo, over and over, continuously emanating life. There was beauty, and there was order, and it was good.

The psalmist proclaims that creation bears witness to God’s glory. We are reminded of just how small we are when such glory is revealed by all of creation. It portrays a journey of praise to the reality of order in God’s creation which peaks in our relationship with God.

Is my own life, the actions I take, shaped in a way that reveals the glory of God? How can it be, that God’s law is good? Do I live up to my call to steward creation or do I merely dominate it, squandering the resources and not even thinking about what is left behind? Perhaps, there is a relationship between the brilliance of God’s law and the joy I feel.

I need to pray more. It is the only way the thoughts of my heart will align with the stars.


“I Have Nothing and God Has Me”

Daily Devotional – February 20

Psalm 50

Chris Minton

Reading scripture I find repeated references, such as Psalm 50:12, reminding me that everything belongs to God.  Examples include Exodus 19:5 – “all the earth is mine:” 1 Chronicles 29:11 – “All that is in heaven and the earth is thine;” Job 41:11 – “Everything under Heaven belongs to me;” Romans 11:36 – “For him are all things.”  When I take these words with me into prayer and meditation, I recognize (1) nothing belongs to me; and (2) I belong to God.

Recognizing the first reality, I recognize my selfish nature.  I spend the majority of my time gathering and hoarding things that don’t belong to me.  I worry that I might not get something I think I should have, or I might lose something I think I have.  But on those occasions when I recognize that everything belongs to God, I lose fear of not getting something I want (because I can’t get what isn’t mine), and I lose  fear of losing something that I have (because I have nothing).  My worries dissipate.

Recognizing the second reality, I experience God’s forgiveness.  I am a child of God despite things done and things left undone.  From this knowledge flows the Peace that passes all understanding, a treasure that transcends the material dross that surrounds me.

I have nothing, and God has me.


“Abide in Love”

Lenten Reflection—February 21, 2018

1 John 4:13-21

The Reverend Deacon Rebecca Weiner Tompkins

In the reading from John’s Gospel, for this day commemorating John Henry Newman, the 19th century priest and theologian, we hear that “God is love, and those who abide in God abide in love, and God abides in them.” It is easy for us believers to hold that in our hearts. The sentiment shows up in everyday life, everywhere from bumper stickers to church billboards to Christian-themed t-shirts. Yet there is more to it, as further on in the scripture, strong words announce: “Those who say, ‘I love God’, and hate their brothers or sisters, are liars; for those who do not love a brother or sister whom they have seen, cannot love God whom they have not seen.” This does not just say we mustn’t hate, but that we must love. Being neutral toward others, feeling no prejudice or intolerance or negativity is not enough. Such passivity isn’t what God gives to us or expects from us. It is activity that is called for– love in action. When we pray the Prayers of the People we use the words “love one another as He loves us.” This Gospel refers to that idea as a commandment, which we found our faith upon. We are to show each other what God shows us; it is how we will embody God’s love, being the Body of Christ.

In the words of John Henry Newman, remembered today:

“God has created me to do Him some definite service…I have my mission… I am a link   in a chain, a bond of connection between persons.”

We are to be that “link” of love, if, as explained in John’s Gospel, we profess to love God. By actually serving and loving others, in concrete ways, especially those most in need, or most disenfranchised, we do God’s will, as Newman expresses in: “I sought to hear the voice of God and climbed the topmost steeple, but God declared: “Go down again – I dwell among the people.”

Then we truly abide in God, and in love.



“Follow Me”

Lenten Reflection – February 20

Mark 1:14-28

Cathy Link

When I was asked if I would be willing to contribute to Lenten meditations for our website, I was pleased and excited. Fr. Bill’s instructions were to use the Daily Office as the basis for our thoughts. I try to read the Office daily (though I often fail in this discipline) and I knew that our readings during Lent were from the Gospel of Mark. Mark is my favorite Gospel–his writings are straightforward, plain but powerful, almost blunt. I have always found this the best approach in all aspects of my life, but especially when living out and sharing my faith. I like to call it the approach of kind firmness.

Today’s Gospel verses tell the story of Jesus’ calling of the first disciples as well as his first act of teaching and preaching. We recently have had several readings in Sunday services about those early days and Our Savior’s calling of Simon, Andrew, James and John. Our grandson Drew (short for Andrew) was amazed that someone with HIS NAME was called out by Jesus to follow him. Aren’t we, as God’s children, all amazed when Jesus taps us on the shoulder and says quite bluntly, Follow me? Can we hear that simple call?  And if so, what is our answer?


“Unified In Same Mind and Purpose”

Lenten Reflection – February 19

1 Corinthians 1:1-19

The Rev. Charlie Grimes

This reading is very similar to the divisions we see in our congregations today.  Although we share the same purpose which leads us to follow Christ through the guidance of the Holy Spirit, we find it hard to get past ambitions and egos. Paul’s major concern for the Church was getting past these arbitrary divisions. Paul stressed sharing the same mind (purpose) for the world that was in Christ as we are being unified by the Holy Spirit. If we all bring our various gifts to work for Christ’s goal, then we might all be bound together.

Despite our best efforts to divide ourselves along arbitrary lines, the true reality is that we are all equal before God. But where our sin divides us, God wants to bind us together in holiness.  Paul put the message of God’s universal reach and unifying power into terms that we can understand: Christ [sent me] to proclaim the gospel, and not with eloquent wisdom, so that the cross of Christ might not be emptied of its power, (1 Cor. 1:17).

And if we learn to live and love together in community, this reading leaves us with a wonderful promise for the future: He will also strengthen you to the end, so that you may be blameless on the day of our Lord Jesus Christ. God is faithful; by him you were called into the fellowship of his Son, Jesus Christ our Lord. (Cor. 1:8-9)


“Repent and Live!”

Daily Reflection – February 16

Ezekiel 18:1-4, 25-32

The Rev. Bill Dennler

“The parents have eaten sour grapes, and the children’s teeth are set on edge.” This Jewish proverb connects generations through their sins. But, I am responsible for the sins that I commit, and therefore, when I recognize my failures, I must repent to live.

For us to think that the sins that we commit will in no way result in our children and grandchildren having to pay, we are mistaken. It takes little thought to recognize that the way we treat the environment or what we do to the land, will have effects in the future. Does our society not still deal with our ancestor’s sins of slavery?  How often have I said that that was them, not me? Or, I know that all aspects of inequality are wrong. I fight for equal rights. I do not embrace the sinful ideologies of my previous generations, why should I have to pay for them?

The recognition of my sins compels me to act, and not doing something, is an act. Realizing my sin, regardless of how it developed, demands that I turn from it and live. Acknowledging and repenting of my sin is a prerequisite for choosing life. Excusing myself because the wrong I do is the fault of the generations before me, is choosing death.

God, through the prophet Ezekiel, offers us a new heart and a new spirit, which can only come with choosing life.



What Does It Mean to Know God?

Daily Reflection – February 15

John 17:1-9

The Rev. Bill Dennler


Jesus begins the seventeenth chapter of the Gospel of John with a prayer to the Father. In this prayer, Jesus prays that the apostles may come to know God. This prompts a question, what does it mean to know God?  How can we know God?

During the Ash Wednesday liturgy yesterday, we were invited “to the observance a holy Lent, by self-examination and repentance.” For the next 40 days, we intentionally seek to uncover the ways that we have turned from God. In our discovery, we are reminded of all the actions and inactions that are characteristic of a self-centered life. The deeper we delve into who we are, the more we recognize what we are. Actively seeking to understand and uncover those things that distort and disrupt our relationship with God, takes discipline. We may often be surprised to discover how far we have strayed. The discovery of the ease with which we become drawn into ourselves can only be humbling. Humility enables us to accept our limitations, and our acceptance reminds us of the need for our reliance on God.

Knowing God involves prayer and reflection. Prayer, in itself, presupposes effort and discipline. Knowing God requires studying and reflecting on the God’s Word. We come to know God through our relationship with God and all relationships require effort.  The work of observing a holy Lent reminds us of our constant need of self-examination and repentance not just for these forty days but always.

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