Lent Practices – Week 5 – 3.15.2018

THEME:Subtracting Independence, Gaining Freedom

BREATH PRAYER: Lord, help me subtract my independence and surrender to You.


CENTERING:

Learn to do good. Seek justice. Help the oppressed. Defend the cause of the orphans. Fight for the right of widows.
Isaiah 1:17

SETTLING IN:

  • In a journal, note the day, time, and place you’re sitting.
  • Open with silence. Set a timer for 1, 3, or 5 minutes so you can be free to rest and breathe deeply.
  • Complete the following sentence in your journal: Today, I feel ________________.
  • Read the centering verse above slowly (aloud or silently).
  • Pause for a few moments of silence, then pray this week’s breath prayer.

PRACTICE:
BLESSING OF OTHERS

New Testament faith cannot be practiced in private.
Either the faith will destroy the isolation,
or the isolation will destroy the faith.
– David Z. Nowell, Dirty Faith

Shannon Martin writes this in her book, Free Falling:

“To be in community is to be painfully aware of our unloveabilty but to offer ourselves anyway. Community simply can’t share space with masks or props. They’re mutually exclusive. They cancel each other out.

“How do we do this? How can we possibly live in true community with our neighbors in the face of socioeconomic disparities, language barriers, cultural differences, heightened racial tensions, and the boring reality that many of them move in and back out again before we can even learn their names?

“The answer is stunning simplicity.

“We dare to believe we are the most broken people we know, and we refuse to turn away when faced with blinding proof. We remind ourselves that no one actually needs us, especially God.

“More than anything, we stop fixating on how to love our neighbor as an entity separate from us and simply start living like a neighbor.”

What are some ways you can show up and bless a neighbor who lives on your street?

How can you be intentional about loving your neighbor and blessing your neighbor in the flesh, outside of the digital or social media realm?

How can you be a blessing to others who surround you and may not look or live like you? Could you …

  • Bring coffee to a workmate you see daily?
  • Buy bulk popsicles and invite the neighbors and kids off the bus into your yard?
  • Ask a neighbor for his or her help? (Being vulnerable to those who care for you can be incredibly powerful.)
  • Attend a local meeting (PTA, neighborhood meeting, outreach meeting, local soccer team) with no agenda other than getting to know those around you?

Write out a few ways you could intentionally bless those around you today.

Summary: Write in your journal a brief summary (five sentences or less) of your practice.

Closing: Lord, help me subtract my independence and surrender to You.


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Image: Peter Paul Rubens via The Wellcome Collection

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