07 March 2007

Lent Reflections & Questions

O Son of God,
Do a miracle for me
and change my heart.
Thy having taken flesh
to redeem me
was more difficult
than to transform
my wickedness.

Irish Prayer, 15th century

Lent refers to 40 days of devotion and discipline leading up to the celebration of Easter. The purpose of this period of time is to examine yourself and seek a greater conformity to the mind and heart of Christ, as well as giving yourself over to more effective service to the world on His behalf. Typically, people will enter into some kind of fast, giving something up in recognition of this time of sober self-assessment. The point is to take Jesus’ Good Friday death and Easter Sunday resurrection seriously enough that we make it the central defining point of our year and character. We actively seek to alleviate the blockages in our lives that prevent God from acting freely in and through us. Toward that end I share these questions for reflection:

What progress am I making in sharing gladly what I have with others, particularly with the stranger and the poor?

What attitudes do I convey to those who irritate me? How can awareness of my own ned of God’s grace enable me to be more gracious to them?

How has my sense of interconnectedness in corporate worship grown of late, and how can I move ahead in appreciating the contributions and needs of other members in the congregation to which I belong?

Am I as charitable and thoughtful to family members as to others? Or do I “take it out” on my family when life at school or work gets hectic or difficult?

Can I redistribute my long-range personal budget in order to have more money to give away?

When I hear someone being unjustly maligned, do I speak up to correct the record, or am I a silent accomplice?

How can I more effectively and consistently support legislation and social programs that help the disadvantaged rather than hurt them?

In devotional acts of prayer and reading, am I increasing my attention span and discovering new ways of listening rather than of talking, of giving thanks rather than of complaining?

As I uncover and attempt to deal with one level of prejudice in my life, what other levels do I find lurking underneath, and how can I confront them?

In addition to intercessory prayer, what habits can I develop that allow me to be more responsive to the sick, the distressed, and the bereaved, particularly when their needs emerge suddenly and require immediate attention? Can I plan spaces into my life to allow for such unanticipated opportunities to minister to others?

Am I, by consistent attendance at worship, a witness to others of the worthiness of the God I follow? Or am I, but my sporadic attendance, suggesting that God is worth serving some time, but not others?

Taken from Calendar: Christ’s Time for the Church by Laurence Hull Stookey (Abingdon Press, 1996)


GUNNY said...

Some great questions upon which to ponder today.

Thanks for sharing them.

By the way, speaking of today, you're looking a little older today?

What's up with that?

P.S. You left your AARP membership information at my place.

etoc said...

How you remember these things, I have no idea. Your memory has always been simultaneously a source of great admiration, envy, annoyance, and . . . I forgot the other thing (this compliments of my equally smart-alecked EA). All of that to say, I'm steppin' up my fiber intake and enrolling in low-impact water aerobics. May the Ben Gay ever mentholate!

GUNNY said...

Okay, I have repented of my lack of remembrance where the bow tie is concerned.

It's the least I could do for my father in the faith on his day of ever-increasing aging.

Have a SACWA on me, another area where you fathered me faithfully!