FOURTH SATURDAY OF LENT, MARCH 26
WELCOME TO THE SATURDAY EXAMEN
Read Hosea 6:1-6 & Luke 19:9-14
I hope you have observed that Jesus is never mad at sinners! He is only upset with people who do not think they are sinners. The Pharisee is a public holy man who is not holy at all. The tax collector in Israel is a public sinner, with no credits to his name whatsoever, who ends up being the saint?
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 the grace to remain faithful in those disciplines.
You have given all to me.
To you, Lord, I return it.
Everything is yours; do with it what you will.
Give me only your love and your grace,
That is enough for me.
*from “Pray as You Go”
FOURTH SUNDAY OF LENT, MARCH 27
THE GREATEST IN THE KINGDOM OF HEAVEN
Read Matthew 18:1-5 & Matthew 19:13-15
The curious thing is that Jesus took those whom we put at the fringe of society and put them right in the middle of the disciples. Those whom we regard as distraction from the really important things, Jesus put in the middle of us in a last-ditch effort to help us to pay attention. It is as if Jesus wanted to say, “You want to get into my kingdom? The only way to get into my kingdom is to be very small, very little, very needy. There will be no adults in my kingdom, no self-sufficient, liberated, autonomous, independent adults. There will only be children. Here is a kingdom that has a very small door!”
-William Willimon, Peculiar Speech
- Take some time to sit with our scripture for the day. Maybe 3-5 minutes of meditation and sitting in silence. What stands out – a word, verse our phrase. Bring this gift before our Lord.
- What is the difference between being child-like and childish?
- What is it about being child-like that makes it a pre-requisite for being a follower of Jesus Christ?
- In what area of your life do you think that God wants you to be more childlike?
FOURTH MONDAY OF LENT, MARCH 28
NO FEAR IN LOVE
Read 1 John 4:13-21
Courage is the resistance to fear, mastery of fear – not absence of fear.
One has not learned the lesson of the life who does not every day surmount a fear.
-Ralph Waldo Emerson
If we let things terrify us, life will not be worth living.
-Seneca the Younger
I have always believed that the first duty of a mature human being is that of subduing fear.
- Take 5 min to reread our scripture of the day and meditate and see what God brings to your heart.
- The passage in 1John 4:18 tells us that “there is no fear in love. Perfect love casts out fear.” Think of something you fear. It could be a loss, a change, a transition in life, an illness or future reality.
- What is it about this than that makes you afraid?
- Specifically, how would you like God’s help with this fear?
FOURTH TUESDAY OF LENT, MARCH 29
JOY & LAUGHTTER
Read John 17:13 & Philippians 4:10-13
Humor is a prelude to faith, and laughter is the beginning of prayer.
A sense of humor is a signal of transcendence.
Joy is the serious business of heaven.
To be seventy years young is sometimes far more cheerful and hopeful than to be forty years old!
-Oliver Wendell Holmes
- Take 5 min to sit in silence and meditate on the scripture for today.
- Do you laugh every day? Why do physicians say that laughter is therapeutic for us?
- Why do you think that there isn’t more laughter in our world?
- How do you react to Reinhold Niebuhr’s words? Do you agree that humor is a prelude to faith and laughter the beginning of prayer?
FIFTH WEDNESDAY OF LENT, MARCH 30
Read Matthew 6:12, 14-15
Maybe, just maybe, we should listen more carefully to the prayer we pray each Sunday in church. It is a prayer our Lord taught us to pray, “forgive us our sins, as we forgive those who sin against us.”
In her book, The Hiding Place, Corrie Ten Boom tells how she and her sister, Betsy, were incarcerated at the Nazi camp Ravensbruck. Her sister died in that camp of death. Corrie Ten Boom said that she lived in dread that one day somewhere in Europe or Germany, she might meet one of those who held her captive in a dreaded place. One day it happened in Munich, Germany. She had given her testimony at a great rally and had talked about the grace of God. When the rally was over and she was greeting people, suddenly there stood before her a former SS officer who had guarded her and others at the showers in the camp.
He said: “How grateful I am for your message, Fraulein. To think that as you say, He has washed my sins away.”
She said that she prayed a prayer for forgiveness, asking: “Lord Jesus, forgive me and help me forgive him.”
Standing there, struggling with herself, she said: “The most incredible thing happened. From my shoulder along my arm and through my hand a current seemed to pass from me to him, while into my heart sprang a love for this stranger that overwhelmed me.”
- Take 5 min to meditate on our scripture of “Forgiveness.”
- How hard is it to forgive? We live in culture that cancel people and can not and will not forgive. How revolutionary is our message of love, grace, and forgiveness through Jesus Christ?
- Is it more difficult for you to forgive someone else, to receive someone else’s forgiveness or to forgive yourself? Why?
FIFTH THURSDAY OF LENT, MARCH 31
WHERE IS YOUR IDNETITY?
Read II Timothy 1:1-7
A common pitfall on the way to establishing identity is to allow ourselves to be defined by whatever job we happen to fall into when we finish school. Our being becomes our doing. Who we are is established by what we do. It’s all so easy and natural that we hardly notice it’s happening. Without even realizing it, we can “slip-slide away” into letting the identities provided by our work become the “ultimate” basis for defining who we are.
Of course, the problem with letting our jobs provide our identities is that sooner or later we all lose our jobs. Whether it comes sooner through layoffs or later through retirement it will happen. And then, for those whose identities have been wrapped up primarily in their work, there is a horrendous crisis. Who of us has encountered those persons who are devoid of any identity of meaning to their lives because all that they were was synonymous with their job? So many, particularly men, die very shortly after retirement simply because they cannot figure out any good reason for living.
-Tony Campolo, Everything You’ve Ever Heard is Wrong
- Take 5 min to meditate and reflect on the Timothy passage. Where is Paul’s identity found and also Timothy’s?
- How much of “you” has been or is wrapped up in the work you do for pay or volunteer, a political ideology and/or lifestyle?
- How would you describe yourself as a relaxed person or a driven person?
- How do you feel about the word “retirement”? What does it represent for you and those you love?
FIFTH FRIDAY OF LENT, APRIL 1
GODLINESS w/ CONTINTMENT
Read Matthew 6:33 & I Timothy 6:6-10
Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life.
Purity of heart is to will one thing.
We feel honestly the pull of many obligations and try to fulfill them all. And we are unhappy, uneasy, strained, oppressed and fearful we shall be shallow… We have hints that there is a way of life vastly richer and deeper than all this hurried existence, a life of unhurried serenity and peace and power. If only we could slip in that CENTER! We have seen and known people who have found this deep CENTER of living, where the fretful calls of life are integrated, where “NO” as well as “YES” can be said in confidence.
We are trying to be several selves at once, without all our selves being organized by a single, mastering LIFE within us. Life is meant to be lived from a CENTER, a divine CENTER. Each of us can live such a life of amazing power and peace and serenity, of integration and confidence and simplified multiplicity, on one condition – that is, if we really want to.
- Meditate on our scripture for 5-10 minutes. What stands out to you in the reading? Is there a word, verse or phrase that stands out to you? Does a certain image come to mind when you reflect on the passages?
- What are the keys to finding the kind of inner contentment of which Thomas Kelly speaks of?
- Do you have difficulty saying “YES” or “NO”? Why or why not?
- What barriers and fears would we have to overcome to be comfortable and content saying “YES” or “NO”?