Daily Lenten Reflection

“He said to them, ‘Take nothing for your journey, no staff, nor bag, nor bread, nor money—not even an extra tunic.’” Luke 9:3 NRSV

While I was packing for a recent trip these tough words from Jesus floated into my mind.    But how could I take nothing with me?  That seemed simply impossible.  (The irony of that phrase is not lost on me.)  My imagination fill with “what if” scenarios as I was picking from my clothes and shoes and books to take.  What if it was going to be cold?  What if it rained?  What if I was invited out to eat and the clothes I had weren’t appropriate?  What if I needed to reference a certain author or idea I had read?  Although I’ve gotten better at packing I still tend to overpack and struggle with the burden of carrying too much on my journey. –Dustin Davis, Disarmingly Simple 

Reflect: 

  • As we move toward the end of this Lenten journey, take a moment to assess what unnecessary weight you are still invited to release.
  • When do the “what if” scenarios in your life keep you from leaving things behind that are currently burdening?
  • Prayerfully dwell with Luke 9:3. What is God’s invitation to you in this text?

Week 4: Trusting the Promise

By Katie Harmon-McLaughlin

“For there is still a vision for the appointed time; it speaks of the end, and does not lie. If it seems to tarry, wait for it; it will surely come, it will not delay.” Habakkuk 2:2-3, NRSV

This is the time for realizing
That this deep hope is
For something real.

Impossible
Say the voices around us
Firmly fixed in cynicism, despair.

Impossible
Says the evening news
With its montage of tragedy.

Impossible
Say the politicians
Inciting suspicion, fear.

Impossible
Says the hurting heart
Daring to dream no more.

Impossible
Says the “rational” mind
Trading wonder for logic.

Impossible
Say the statistics
And the violence
And the hatred
And planetary ruin
And hungry bodies
And broken lives…
And…

Yet…

A bright star emerges
In our longest, darkest night
And those wisest among us
Choose to chase it.

What they hear it saying
Through the shining
Is worth the vision
They journey to find.

POSSIBLE
It says of:
Equality
Justice
Kindness
Forgiveness
Redemption

POSSIBLE
It says of:
An end to poverty
A nonviolent way
Radical compassion
Peace on earth
The kingdom of God

POSSIBLE
It says of:
A table of welcome
With a feast spread wide
For all people–
Even those we fear
Even those who fear us–
To come and be nourished
And reconciled
And healed
And blessed.

POSSIBLE
It says of:
Our deepest need
The deepest dream
Of the Holy
Birthed in us
Through us
With us
For us.

This is the time for realizing
That this deep hope is
For something real.

Spiritual Practice: What possibility are you invited to follow this Advent season? What does it mean to trust the promise of the incarnation in the world today?

The Journey Called Trust

by Katie Harmon-McLaughlin

“Give yourself, then, to this divine and infinite life, this mysterious cosmic activity in which you are immersed, of which you are born. Trust it. Let it surge in on you.”
Evelyn Underhill, Mysticism

The gift of disruption,
This angel visitation,
Will not be complete
In the same moment
It arrives.

Now we enter the longer part
Of the journey called
Trust
When everything has gone back to normal
But nothing has.
And we carry within us
Something we can’t yet name.

I search for an answer
Looking for the single key
To unlock the door to the future.
It will not come.

I’m as guilty as anyone,
Wanting to see where we are going,
Wanting the outcome to be some version
Of what I think I want it to be.

What is it exactly that I hope for?
What is the deepest, truest thing
That needs to continue or emerge?
How many forms might it take and
What forms might it already be taking?
Will I be present enough to see?

Can I trust the mystery of incarnation enough
To believe that the Holy is always
Coming into life in some new way?

On this long journey,
There is no bypassing
The necessary work
Of tending our inward spaces.
As long as we stay on the surface,
Surface will be all we see.
The invitation is to go deep
Into the dark unknown-
The cave, the womb, the starry night.

Temptations abound of
Avoidance and neglect,
Understandable because
Once you enter,
Nothing stays the same.

Halfway is no way.
Once trust is required
We either journey forward
Or we don’t.
Apathy and cynicism will try to get their way.
Don’t let them.
Healing is engagement.
Incarnation is embodiment.
We give ourselves over to our deep hope
And we are changed.

This fleeting visitation has meant something real
And it is coming to life in you.
Let it grow.
Trust what it will be
Even though you can’t yet see
Or maybe even imagine.
Give your whole self
To the trembling, awe-filled
YES that your heart
Has been yearning
To say.

Now we enter the longer part
Of the journey called
Trust.

Spiritual Practice: How are you invited to stay with the call of God in your life even when you can’t see where it will lead? Pray for steadiness of heart, deep trust, when uncertainty tempts you to abandon the journey.