Lent Daybook: 19: On Jordan's stormy banks

A Lent daybook for these 40 days of prayer. Join me, won't you?  (see previous Lent daybook 2018 posts here)

Is this your first time to practice Lent?  Here's a simple introduction: How we prepare for Lent.

*Note: If you're reading this in email, the formatting usually looks much better at the website. Just click the post title to get there.*


     St. John the Baptist , Maxim Sheshakov ( source )

 

St. John the Baptist, Maxim Sheshakov (source)


music for today: "On Jordan's Stormy Banks", Jars of Clay (lyrics)

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So they went up out of Egypt and came to the land of Canaan to their father Jacob. And they told him, “Joseph is still alive, and he is ruler over all the land of Egypt.” And his heart became numb, for he did not believe them. But when they told him all the words of Joseph, which he had said to them, and when he saw the wagons that Joseph had sent to carry him, the spirit of their father Jacob revived. And Israel said, “It is enough; Joseph my son is still alive. I will go and see him before I die.”

*

”Uphold me according to your promise, that I may live,
and let me not be put to shame in my hope!”

*

” For although there may be so-called gods in heaven or on earth—as indeed there are many “gods” and many “lords”— yet for us there is one God, the Father, from whom are all things and for whom we exist, and one Lord, Jesus Christ, through whom are all things and through whom we exist.”

*

”And immediately the king sent an executioner with orders to bring John’s head. He went and beheaded him in the prison and brought his head on a platter and gave it to the girl, and the girl gave it to her mother. When his disciples heard of it, they came and took his body and laid it in a tomb.
— Genesis 45:25-28 * Psalm 119:116 * 1 Corinthians 8:5-6 * Mark 6:27-29

* Monday - Thursday Scripture readings are taken from the Book of Common Prayer (Year 2). On Fridays, I'll include the Scripture readings for the upcoming Sunday which are taken from the Revised Common Lectionary (Year B).


prayer for today from Evening Prayers For Every Day of the Year by Christoph Friedrich Blumhardt :

Your word, O Lord, is eternal; it stands firm in the heavens. Your faithfulness continues through all generations; you established the earth, and it endures. Your laws endure to this day, for all things serve you. Psalm 119:89–91, NIV

Lord God, we thank you for your Word, greatest and most glorious of all that comes to our human life. Every day we want to find more joy in your help, in what you are doing for us. Again and again we feel and rejoice in the new help, new strength, and new courage for life given by your Word. We seek and seek to find Jesus Christ, the eternal Life. He will surely come to establish your kingdom. Praise to your name, eternal, glorious, almighty God! Be with us poor, lowly people. Strengthen us in spirit, and enable us to persevere until everything is fulfilled that is promised by your Word. Amen.
— Christoph Friedrich Blumhardt

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Spiritual practice for today:

This week, fast from spending money. Let each necessary purchase remind you of the reality of our complete poverty and helplessness before God and without the work of Christ. 

Instead of spending practice giving. Almsgiving is a traditional Lenten practice. This week pray that the Lord would show you his face in the most distressing of your neighbors, and lead you to ways that you can show compassionate mercy. 


(see all Lent daybook posts from 2017 here)

Lent Daybook, 18: A prophet in his hometown

A Lent daybook for these 40 days of prayer. Join me, won't you?  (see previous Lent daybook 2018 posts here)

Is this your first time to practice Lent?  Here's a simple introduction: How we prepare for Lent.

*Note: If you're reading this in email, the formatting usually looks much better at the website. Just click the post title to get there.*


    image from the Western Gothic digital series by Brendon Burton ( source )

 

image from the Western Gothic digital series by Brendon Burton (source)


music for today: "Wayfaring Stranger", The Dirt Daubers (lyrics)

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God sent me on ahead to pave the way and make sure there was a remnant in the land, to save your lives in an amazing act of deliverance. So you see, it wasn’t you who sent me here but God.”

*

”And—can you believe it?—they kept right on sinning;
all those wonders and they still wouldn’t believe!
So their lives dribbled off to nothing—
nothing to show for their lives but a ghost town.”

*

”I’m trying to be helpful and make it as easy as possible for you, not make things harder. All I want is for you to be able to develop a way of life in which you can spend plenty of time together with the Master without a lot of distractions.”

*

”Jesus told them, “A prophet has little honor in his hometown, among his relatives, on the streets he played in as a child.” Jesus wasn’t able to do much of anything there—he laid hands on a few sick people and healed them, that’s all. He couldn’t get over their stubbornness.
— Genesis 45:7-8 * Psalm 78:32-33 * 1 Corinthians 7:35 * Mark 6:4-6a (MSG)

* Monday - Thursday Scripture readings are taken from the Book of Common Prayer (Year 2). On Fridays, I'll include the Scripture readings for the upcoming Sunday which are taken from the Revised Common Lectionary (Year B).


prayer for today from Fran Pratt's Lent series of litanies:

(H/T: Global Christian Worship)

Hear, Oh God, when we call to You
Have mercy on us and answer us.

In our vulnerability
Have mercy on us, oh God
In our forgetfulness
Have mercy on us, oh God
In our anxiety
Have mercy on us, oh God
In our wrongdoing
Have mercy on us, oh God
In our hard-heartedness
Have mercy on us, oh God
In our blindness,
>b>Have mercy on us, oh God

In your mercy, you rescue us from our enemies.
In your mercy, you remove our transgressions from us.
In your mercy, you made a way for us to be reconciled to You.
In your mercy, you sent your Son, Jesus Christ, to heal our brokenness.

Grant that in this season of Lent, our hearts may be devoted to You,
That we may see Your mercies new each day.
Grant that we may be always ready to offer mercy to those in need of it,
For mercy triumphs over judgment.

Amen
— Lent Series: Litany for Mercy, FranPratt.com

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Spiritual practice for today:

This week, fast from spending money. Let each necessary purchase remind you of the reality of our complete poverty and helplessness before God and without the work of Christ. 

Instead of spending practice giving. Almsgiving is a traditional Lenten practice. This week pray that the Lord would show you his face in the most distressing of your neighbors, and lead you to ways that you can show compassionate mercy. 


(see all Lent daybook posts from 2017 here)

Lent Daybook, 17: Unanswered Prayers

A Lent daybook for these 40 days of prayer. Join me, won't you?  (see previous Lent daybook 2018 posts here)

Is this your first time to practice Lent?  Here's a simple introduction: How we prepare for Lent.

*Note: If you're reading this in email, the formatting usually looks much better at the website. Just click the post title to get there.*


     28 Days – Flatline , Odia Reimer ( source ) [This project} is made up of 96 pillows, each with a flatline of 28 stitches in red. This piece documents 8 years/96 months/2,688 days routinely taking a morning temperature with hopes of tracking fertility, each month hope is dashed with the stark straight line.

 

28 Days – Flatline, Odia Reimer (source)
[This project} is made up of 96 pillows, each with a flatline of 28 stitches in red. This piece documents 8 years/96 months/2,688 days routinely taking a morning temperature with hopes of tracking fertility, each month hope is dashed with the stark straight line.


music for today: "Unanswered Prayers", Andy Squyres (lyrics)

Read this meaningful review by Victoria Emily Jones of the story behind Andy Squyres' album Cherry Blossoms.

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Your servant, my father, told us, ‘You know very well that my wife gave me two sons. One turned up missing. I concluded that he’d been ripped to pieces. I’ve never seen him since. If you now go and take this one and something bad happens to him, you’ll put my old gray, grieving head in the grave for sure.’”

*

”Get out of bed—you’ve slept long enough!
Come on the run before it’s too late.

God, come back!
Smile your blessing smile:
That will be our salvation.”

*

”I do want to point out, friends, that time is of the essence. There is no time to waste, so don’t complicate your lives unnecessarily. Keep it simple—in marriage, grief, joy, whatever.”

*

”Jesus said to her, ‘Daughter, you took a risk of faith, and now you’re healed and whole. Live well, live blessed! Be healed of your plague.’
— Genesis 44:27-29 * Psalm 80:2b-3 * 1 Corinthians 7:29-30 * Mark 5:34 (MSG)

* Monday - Thursday Scripture readings are taken from the Book of Common Prayer (Year 2). On Fridays, I'll include the Scripture readings for the upcoming Sunday which are taken from the Revised Common Lectionary (Year B).


prayer for today: 

In peace, we pray to you, Lord God. {Sit in silence for a moment.}

For all people in their daily life and work;
For our families, friends, and neighbors, and for those who are alone.
Hear us, Lord;

For your mercy is great.

For this community, the nation, and the world;
For all who work for justice, freedom, and peace.
Hear us, Lord;

For your mercy is great.

For the just and proper use of your creation;
For the victims of hunger, fear, injustice, and oppression.
Hear us, Lord;

For your mercy is great.

For all who are in danger, sorrow, or any kind of trouble;
For those who minister to the sick, the friendless, and the needy.
Hear us, Lord;

For your mercy is great.

For the peace and unity of the Church of God;
For all who proclaim the Gospel, and all who seek the Truth.
Hear us, Lord;

For your mercy is great.

For our pastor; and all clergy and other ministers;
For all who serve God in his Church.
Hear us, Lord;

For your mercy is great.

For the special needs and concerns of our friends, family, and community, especially [______].
Hear us, Lord;

For your mercy is great.

We thank you, Lord, for all the blessings of this life. We are especially thankful for [______].

We will exalt you, O God our King;
And praise your Name forever and ever.


Amen.
— Prayers of the People (Form VI), Book of Common Prayer

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Spiritual practice for today:

This week, fast from spending money. Let each necessary purchase remind you of the reality of our complete poverty and helplessness before God and without the work of Christ. 

Instead of spending practice giving. Almsgiving is a traditional Lenten practice. This week pray that the Lord would show you his face in the most distressing of your neighbors, and lead you to ways that you can show compassionate mercy. 


(see all Lent daybook posts from 2017 here)

Lent Daybook 15 & 16 (third Sunday in Lent): Folly

A Lent daybook for these 40 days of prayer. Join me, won't you?  (see previous Lent daybook 2018 posts here)

Is this your first time to practice Lent?  Here's a simple introduction: How we prepare for Lent.

*Note: If you're reading this in email, the formatting usually looks much better at the website. Just click the post title to get there.*


     Moses Smashing the Tablets of Law  by Rembrandt ( source )

 

Moses Smashing the Tablets of Law by Rembrandt (source)

     Expulsion of the Moneychangers from the Temple  by Luca Giordano ( source )

 

Expulsion of the Moneychangers from the Temple by Luca Giordano (source)


music for today: "It's Alright, Ma (I'm Only Bleeding)", Bob Dylan (lyrics)

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You shall have no other gods before me.”

*

”The law of the Lord is perfect... the rules of the Lord are true, and righteous altogether.”

*

”For the word of the cross is folly to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God...

For the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men.”

*

”In the temple he found those who were selling oxen and sheep and pigeons, and the money-changers sitting there. And making a whip of cords, he drove them all out of the temple, with the sheep and oxen. And he poured out the coins of the money-changers and overturned their tables. And he told those who sold the pigeons, “Take these things away; do not make my Father’s house a house of trade.” His disciples remembered that it was written, “Zeal for your house will consume me.”
— Exodus 20:3 * Psalm 19:7a,9b * 1 Corinthians 1:18, 25 * John 2:14-17 (ESV)

* Monday - Thursday Scripture readings are taken from the Book of Common Prayer (Year 2). On Fridays, I'll include the Scripture readings for the upcoming Sunday which are taken from the Revised Common Lectionary (Year B).


Collect for the third Sunday in Lent:

Almighty God, you know that we have no power in ourselves to help ourselves: Keep us both outwardly in our bodies and inwardly in our souls, that we may be defended from all adversities which may happen to the body, and from all evil thoughts which may assault and hurt the soul; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
— Book of Common Prayer

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Spiritual practice for today:

Use the guide below to examine your heart and look for meaningful ways to put your faith into practice.

Prayer of Examination:

Search me, O God, and know my heart! Try me and know my thoughts!
And see if there be any grievous way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting!(Psalm 139:23-24)

Take a moment to quiet your heart and reflect upon the past week. Look especially for ways to express gratitude and thanksgiving to God for his goodness and love, as well as genuine sorrow over your own sin and brokenness. Close this time of prayer by expressing your hope in the power of the Holy Spirit who is faithful to forgive, cleanse, and transform you into his likeness (2 Cor. 3:18). (source)


(see all Lent daybook posts from 2017 here)

Lent Daybook, 14: Piece of property

A Lent daybook for these 40 days of prayer. Join me, won't you?  (see previous Lent daybook 2018 posts here)

Is this your first time to practice Lent?  Here's a simple introduction: How we prepare for Lent.

*Note: If you're reading this in email, the formatting usually looks much better at the website. Just click the post title to get there.*


    This notice of sale is described: "Paupers would be sold at auction to the lowest bidder. Basically, a bidder would take out a contract to house, cloth and feed the person and in return they would work for one year to pay the debt." ( source )

 

This notice of sale is described: "Paupers would be sold at auction to the lowest bidder. Basically, a bidder would take out a contract to house, cloth and feed the person and in return they would work for one year to pay the debt." (source)


music for today: "Precious Lord, Take My Hand / You've Got A Friend [Live at New Temple Missionary Baptist Church, Los Angeles 1/13/72]", Aretha Franklin 

about the album: "January 13th, 1972. Watts. Los Angeles. The New Temple Missionary Baptist Church was in a swivet. [read more]" Watch the trailer for a film by Sydney Pollack documenting the making of the 1972 Franklin album was shelved by Warner Brothers. It remains unreleased. 

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all readings for today: Genesis 42:29-38, Psalm 71, 1 Corinthians 6:12-20, Mark 4:21-34

 

excerpts:

Their father said to them, “You’re taking everything I’ve got! Joseph’s gone, Simeon’s gone, and now you want to take Benjamin. If you have your way, I’ll be left with nothing.”

Reuben spoke up: “I’ll put my two sons in your hands as hostages. If I don’t bring Benjamin back, you can kill them. Trust me with Benjamin; I’ll bring him back.”

But Jacob refused. “My son will not go down with you. His brother is dead and he is all I have left. If something bad happens to him on the road, you’ll put my gray, sorrowing head in the grave.”

*

”Or didn’t you realize that your body is a sacred place, the place of the Holy Spirit? Don’t you see that you can’t live however you please, squandering what God paid such a high price for? The physical part of you is not some piece of property belonging to the spiritual part of you. God owns the whole works. So let people see God in and through your body.”

*

”Jesus went on: “Does anyone bring a lamp home and put it under a washtub or beneath the bed? Don’t you put it up on a table or on the mantel? We’re not keeping secrets, we’re telling them; we’re not hiding things, we’re bringing them out into the open.

“Are you listening to this? Really listening?

“Listen carefully to what I am saying—and be wary of the shrewd advice that tells you how to get ahead in the world on your own. Giving, not getting, is the way. Generosity begets generosity. Stinginess impoverishes.”

*

”You who have made me see many troubles and calamities
will revive me again;
from the depths of the earth
you will bring me up again.
You will increase my greatness
and comfort me again.

I will also praise you with the harp
for your faithfulness, O my God;
I will sing praises to you with the lyre,
O Holy One of Israel.
My lips will shout for joy,
when I sing praises to you;
my soul also, which you have redeemed.
And my tongue will talk of your righteous help all the day long,
for they have been put to shame and disappointed
who sought to do me hurt.
— Genesis 42: 36-38 * 1 Corinthians 6:19,20 * Mark 4:21-26 (MSG) * Psalm 71:20-24 (ESV)

* Monday - Thursday Scripture readings are taken from the Book of Common Prayer (Year 2). On Fridays, I'll include the Scripture readings for the upcoming Sunday which are taken from the Revised Common Lectionary (Year B).


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Spiritual practice for today:

Each week during Lent, we will devote Thursdays to acts of repentance. It's God's kindness that leads us to repentance, and in His kindness and provision for reconciliation, He invites us to make confession and ask for forgiveness on behalf of not only ourselves but our forefathers and mothers. We carry a heavy load of guilt and grief in our nation as a result of centuries of grievous sin and unrelenting injustice against African Americans. 

I've added to my personal Lenten reading this year the brief daily posts called An American Lent, a collaboration between Coracle and The Repentance Project. I commend the readings to you, and if nothing else, consider reading and signing the call to action entitled Statement of Repentance

Not far from where you live there is a city — or you may live at its very heart.  Its most coveted addresses are places of luxury of which Babylon or Rome could only dream.  But that city also carries a legacy of violence — a history of treating people as profitable things.  What is the residue of that legacy?  Who bears its scars today?  If that legacy were fully and truly judged, would you be one of the kings, merchants, and sailors who mourns the loss of wealth?  Or would you say with the scorned of the earth, “Hallelujah!  The smoke goes up from her forever and ever” (Revelation 19:3)?

For most of us, the best we can hope is that we would be in both groups.  We have profited from exploitative economies past and present.  But by grace we can also heed the call of Revelation 18:4, “Come out of her, my people.”  Spend a few moments in prayer...
  1. Lamenting all the things that would be lost, and will be lost, in God’s judgment of our own nation and world,
  2. Lamenting even more the loss that has come as our economies have turned people into things, and
  3. Praying for the courage to resist evil and the lure of the "Babylons" of our day.

(see all Lent daybook posts from 2017 here)