March 18, 2013

Lenten Journey: Fifth Sunday - Mercy

Isaiah 43:16-21
Psalm 126
Philippians 3:8-14
John 8:1-11

For Reflection...

We're down to our final week of Lent.  We stand with the woman caught in adultery before the judgment seat.  In a week we will watch from the crowd as Jesus before Pilate stands in our place.

Our judge is not Pilate nor any of the world's Pilates, but Jesus.  With the woman caught in adultery, we appear before him knowing that we have sinned in ways we cannot deny.  We deserve judgment.  Do we believe we can receive mercy instead?

Can we, with the Lord, forget the past and see that the God is doing something new in us (Isaiah 43:18-19)?  Can we, with Paul, forget our worldly pretensions, leave them behind as rubbish, and strain toward what lies ahead (Philippians 3)?  Are we ready to make this final turn toward Jerusalem?

For Entering In...

As you become present to God, notice how you are feeling about God, about yourself.  We will have times when we feel close and connected, times when God feels far or our own hearts feel inaccessible.  Welcome whatever comes today.

Reflect on these questions:

  • During this final week of Lent, reflect again on your experience of fasting, if you have chosen to fast.  Is this a practice that you might continue into the future?  How might fasting be supporting your intention to draw closer to God?  If you have not fasted thus far, consider picking a day and fasting from something on just that day.  What do you notice about your experience?
  • Have you been giving alms, money or other aid, as a Lenten practice?  Spend some time this week noticing who around you is in need.  In your prayer time, ask God what God might be calling you to do in service.  No one of us can do everything.  To what are you called?  To give some money?  To offer a listening ear?  Or something else?
  • When, where, and how have you been praying?  Where do you feel you stand in relationship to God today?  Where does God stand in relationship to you?
  • Have you been using a prayer word to keep you connected to God as you go about your daily activities?  That word is only a reminder that God is ever present, loving you, calling you to awareness of that love.
  • How has your Lenten journey been so far?  From where have you come?  Where are you going?  Where is God calling you?  Where do you wish to be?
Spend several minutes allowing your body and mind to be at rest.  If thoughts come, let them go by.  What if the only thing that mattered was your being, not your thinking or feeling or doing?

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