So, I’m not sure what is up with the Christianbook.com daily Lenten devotional. Yesterday’s devotional came to my inbox close to 1pm, and I didn’t get to a chance to post it here. No devotional has come to my inbox today, so I was able to post yesterday’s, today. And oddly, the quote and suggested Scripture readings are the same as the day before?
Anyway…I’m enjoying this season of focus thus far. Practicing Lent has never really been a part of my faith tradition. In keeping with the the Lenten tradition of sacrifice, I’ve made a few commitments, which will be a bit of a strain to keep, but I long to grow closer to Christ, and this emphasis has certainly provided me some focus the last several days.
Your Daily Lenten Devotional
February 24, 2012
Into the Wilderness
Genesis 2:15-17; 3:1-7
Focus: The Shadow of Temptation
We have fallen into the temptation of separating ministry from spirituality, service from prayer. Our demon says: “We are too busy to pray; we have too many needs to attend to, too many people to respond to, too many wounds to heal…” But to think this way is harmful…Service and prayer can never be separated; they are related to each other as the Yin and Yang of the Japanese Circle.
–Henri J.M. Nouwen
Day 2: Busyness
What is true for each of us is too often true of the church itself. Consecrating a new cathedral in Africa, Rowan Williams, the archbishop of Canterbury, said:
Many years ago I lived in a town where there was a very active church indeed. Outside this church was an enormous noticeboard. It must have been about 6 ft sq. It seemed every moment of the week was taken up in activity. But I’ve no doubt indeed it was a very good church and very careful and loving parish. And yet that noticeboard used to worry me and it still does. It seems to me it speaks of an idea of the church which supposes that the church is about human beings doing things. When you looked at that church you would have thought, what a lot of things they do there. But I’m still wondering if anyone ever asked, does God do things here? It seemed to be just a slight risk that there was hardly any room in the week for God to find his way in among all these activities. (emphasis added)
We are busy, each of us, and together we all of us are doing various things in our various congregations, but all of that holy activity, church busyness and business, may carry and keep us far from the Holy One. If we are not careful, we will be like Martha in the kitchen–doing so many things for Jesus, so we suppose, that we do not have time to be with Jesus. We will not be alert to what Jesus is already at work doing for, in and among us–and we may wind up estranged from our brothers and sisters.
In Lent we purpose to come out of the kitchen and sit at the feet of Jesus. We set ourselves space-making disciples in order that, as the book of Joel says, the nations will not ask of us, “Where is their God?” (2:17).
Where is their God? Are they people of faith or just people of activity? Do they believe in grace or, in spite of what they say, do they really believe in salvation only by work? Where is their God? They surely are busy, but where is their God?
And what of God’s word?
How much of your church time is spent “in the kitchen”? Consider how you might take your place at the feet of Jesus this Lent.
Shadows Darkness and Dawn: A Lenten Journey with Jesus
Thomas R. Steagald
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In Shadows, Darkness and Dawn, daily readings for the season of Lent engage us with the Gospel of John’s narratives about Jesus: the temptation in the wilderness, Nicodemus’s nighttime visit, the encounter with the woman at the well, Jesus healing of the man born blind, the raising of Lazarus, and the events of Holy Week. In pondering these biblical events you’ll be drawn to purposeful Lenten reflection.
Used with the kind permission of our friends at Upper Room Books.