3RD WEEK OF LENT
Theme of the Week:
Matthew 20:26; Luke 7:36-38; John 13:2-17
“WHOEVER WOULD BE GREAT AMONG YOU—MUST BE YOUR SERVANT”.
These words were spoken by Jesus in Matthew 20:26.
Following we have two diverse illustrations.
By Lonetta Key
In Luke 7:36-38 we read of Jesus attending a dinner and while there His feet were washed by a woman (believed to be Mary Magdalene). Her unpretentious act of bestowing honor and paying homage was accomplished by anointing His feet with a very costly ointment or perfume, wetting them with her tears while wiping them with her hair. Verse 37 adds an interesting and descriptive side note—“…a woman of the city, who was a sinner…” But notice she was the only one there who publicly without hesitation demonstrated veneration and adoration for the Master.
Now in John 13:2-17 Jesus utilized that common custom—washing of feet— in an uncommon way to portray the definition of humbly serving. He was desperately trying to teach His chosen 12 an invaluable lesson.
We know humility was not easily achieved by these men. Luke records an argument that ensued among them at an earlier time over who was the greatest. (9:46) The Lord knew He was not going to have much more time with them before they would be tasked with the sacred appointment of delivering the Gospel to the then known world. This would demand working together as peers; respecting one another as equals. Not wasting time and energy in determining who was the most significant in this process.
Herein lies an interesting dichotomy. In the first example a sinner washed divine feet. In the second the Divine washed sinful feet.
Our goal should be the position of lead servants. It behooves us to constantly strive for humility in our own lives as well as influencing the behavior of others in our Christian community. When we serve, we lead. Jesus was the epitome of leadership, but He was constantly serving. The washing of the disciples’ feet was a quiet observance of leadership in its purest and highest form.
MONDAY 13 MARCH 2023
THIRD MONDAY IN LENT
I let unwanted thoughts depart…allow my breath to even out…prepare myself for He who comes…
“Lord Jesus Christ son of God, bring me peace.”
In through the nose…
And exhale out through the mouth…
“Lord Jesus Christ, bring me your peace.”
I begin by setting the scene of today’s reflection in my mind…
I find a balance in my mind…between inward and outward sense…I let my heart rest in stillness…
I begin by setting the scene of today’s reflection in my mind…
The heavy air confused with scent, a betrayer questions honor, a thief takes the poor as defense, perfumed grease between my fingers, at my touch his bare feet grow warm, gently anointed by pure nard, only my hair can wipe them clean…
I ask for the grace to love Jesus as his feet are anointed…or whatever it is that I need at this moment…
Read: John 12:1-8
MEDITATION AND REFLECTION
As you let your senses fill with the scent of perfume, let your attention rest on Jesus and Mary as she anoints his feet…
What is Mary feeling as she makes this tender gesture…?
What is Jesus feeling as he is honored in this way…?
What sentiments pass through your heart as you watch the events take place…?
As you read these words again, how can you let your love for Jesus become as deep as Mary’s?
Read: John 12:1-8
Martha served, and Lazarus was one of those at the table with him.
Mary took a pound of costly perfume made of pure nard, anointed Jesus’ feet, and wiped them with her hair.
The house was filled with the fragrance of the perfume.
Speak to Jesus, as one friend speaks to another, tell him about the love you have for him, and listen to his response…
Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit…
As it was in the beginning, is now and ever shall be, world without end. Amen.
*Pray As You Go, The Perfume; The Jerusalem Journey; John 12:1-8
TUESDAY 14 MARCH 2023
THIRD TUESDAY OF LENT
Lectio Divina is broken up into 5 separate sections:
- SILENCO – Silence (we can use our Centering Prayer to help prepare.) Take 60 seconds (or more) in silent preparation for sacred reading.
- LECTIO – Listen to the text by reading out loud slowly and repeat 3 times.
- MEDITATO – Meditation – Reflect on what word, words, phrase or sentence that speaks to you from the text, then write it down.
- ORATIO – Pray – Pray as responding to the words, phrases, sentence that God has stirred in you.
- CONTEMPLATIO – Rest in the presence of God, allowing the words revealed to take root.
- SILENCIO – 60 seconds or more of silence
- LECTIO – Scripture read out loud slowly and repeated 3 times.
- READ: ISAIAH 1:10,16-20
- MEDITATIO – Reflection on a word, words, phrase, or sentence that speaks to you from the text. Hold onto it or write it down.
- ORATIO – Pray as responding to the words, phrase sentences that God has stirred in you.
- CONTEMPLATIO – Rest in the presence of God allowing the words revealed to take root: 3 to 5 minutes.
WEDNESDAY 15 MARCH 2023
FOURTH WEDNESDAY OF LENT
Bible references: Matthew 26:6–13, Mark 14:3–9, John 12:1–11.
For lent and Easter, I’m writing a series of poems, each exploring the theme of agency through the lens of stories from Jesus’s passion. This first one is inspired by Mary of Bethany when she poured a pint of spikenard over Jesus’s head.
Actually, the gospel accounts vary.
John 12:1-11 says the woman was Mary, and that she poured the perfume over Jesus’s feet. Mark 14:3-9 doesn’t name the woman and says she poured it over his head. Matthew 26:6-13 is similar to Mark’s account, but timed after the triumphal entry into Jerusalem instead of before.
However, they all agree that it was a woman, in Bethany, shortly before Jesus’s crucifixion. They also agree that other people present objected to her actions (John names Judas Iscariot) and that Jesus defended her.
Gifts are a complicated interaction of agency between the giver and receiver. At their best, they speak uniquely about both parties and their relationship, changing and enriching both, in a way that’s not possible on one’s own.
But gifts can also be given selfishly, in attempts to coerce the recipient, or more for the sake of gesture and self-promotion.
Mary’s example is a particularly tricky one because she gives such a great gift – worth a whole year’s wages. It’s so easy for grand gestures to be fake – what was it that made hers genuine?
It’s also interesting to consider how Judas used his agency. He picked upon poor people as some “other” group, not present, without voice, in pursuit of his own agenda. A phenomenon that is all too common today.
What struck me most as I wrote this poem is that how we use our agency is rarely, if ever, neutral. Hence the title.
A poem inspired by Mary of Bethany, when she anointed Jesus with spikenard
by Christine Woolgar
If only there were a neutral zone,
A space between your will and mine,
Where I could give and you receive,
Or you refuse and I retrieve
And we could both get up and leave
And no one think I’d crossed a line.
If only there were a neutral gift
That made no claim of worth or cost,
That no one would contrast, compare
Or look upon with hostile stare,
That would not leave my heart so bare
Or speak of what will soon be lost.
If only there were a neutral time
When to act or not are both the same,
When history books will never judge
And neither you nor I nor they will grudge
The response I make to this holy nudge
That softly speaks my name.
But a neutral day, there will never be.
And a neutral hour, I will never see.
So I give this flower, that it may be
A memorial, between you and me.
*from the blog: Faith in Grey Places; https://faith.workthegreymatter.com/poem-mary-bethany-spikenard/
THRUSDAY 16 MARCH 2023
FOURTH THRUSDAY OF LENT
FROM THE COMMUNITY @ FPCH
Haiku on Scripture
The haiku is a Japanese poetic form that consists of three lines, with five syllables in the first line, seven in the second, and five in the third.
This haiku is Holy Spirit inspired from Luke 7:37-39
by Maria Monetta-Burke
My debts are canceled.
Lord, you have forgiven much
You have dried my tears.
Take time today and write a poem, draw an image, sing a song, or write a Haiku.
Read Scripture slowly and repeat 3 times. What stands out to you and how has the Holl Spirit spoken to you.
Now be joyful and creative!
FRIDAY 17 MARCH 2023
FOURTH FRIDAY OF LENT
OBSERVATION ON SCRIPTURE
- God is worthy of our worship. All of us worship someone or something in our lives, according to how we decide to spend our time and energy. Whatever we devote our attention to the most from day to day is essentially what we’re worshiping. This story of Mary’s act of worship shows us that there is no one and nothing more deserving of our worship than God. We need to get rid of any idols in our lives – whoever or whatever we’re giving more attention to than we’re giving God – and make God our top priority in our schedules and decisions. The way we can motivate ourselves to do so is by pursuing God’s wonder. In my book Wake Up to Wonder, I explain research that shows a strong connection between wonder and worship. Encountering wonder inspires us to worship because the more we notice the wonder of God’s work in our lives, the more we’ll want to worship him. The connection works the other way around, as well: the more we choose to worship God, the more we will recognize his wonder and feel awe.
- God doesn’t hold anything back from us. God loves us completely and unconditionally. This story of Jesus’ anointing foreshadows how Jesus gave his all on the Cross for us. He made the ultimate sacrifice so we can enjoy eternal relationships with God. As John 3:16 says: “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” There are no limits to what God is willing to do for us, because of his great love for us. God not only has love for us, but God actually is love at his core, as 1 John 4:16 declares: “And so we know and rely on the love God has for us. God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in them.” Psalm 36:7 points out: “How priceless is your unfailing love, O God!…”. God is the source of all love, and love that comes from him never fails. God’s unlimited, reliable love is something to celebrate!
- We shouldn’t hold back anything back from God. In our relationships with God, we shouldn’t hold back our love from God. God is worthy of all our love and he doesn’t hold back his love from us. So, like Mary in this story, we should give our wholehearted devotion to God. Jesus reveals in Matthew 22:37 that the greatest commandment of all is to, “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’” Love is more than an emotion; it’s an action. We often have opportunities to show our love for God through our work, and Colossians 3:23-24 encourages us: “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving.” Just like Mary did, let’s give our very best to God.
*from an article by Whitney Hopler, 3 Lessons We Can Learn When Mary Anoints Jesus’ Feet with Perfume
SATURDAY 18 MARCH 2023
FOURTH SATURDAY IN LENT
Read: Romans 6:12-23
- What has brought new life and joy this week?
- Where have you seen Jesus revealed in a new or fresh way?
- What has surprised or disturbed you this week?
- Share with God an encounter that changed, challenged, or comforted you.
- Ponder times when you may have resisted God’s guidance. What has stopped you from being wholehearted? Speak with the Lord about this.
- Pray for the week to come, for God’s guiding hand in your life and your interactions with others.
- Are there any Spiritual Disciplines you have committed to practice throughout Lent?Ask the Lord for grace to remain faithful in those disciplines.
Blessed are you, O God, our creator.
At the work of your hands, we sing for joy.
Keep us in your grace and peace this day,
and teach us to glorify and enjoy you forever;
through Christ our Lord and Savior.