He also told this parable to some who trusted in themselves that they were righteous and regarded others with contempt: “Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. The Pharisee, standing by himself, was praying thus, ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other people: thieves, rogues, adulterers, or even like this tax collector. I fast twice a week; I give a tenth of all my income.’ But the tax collector, standing far off, would not even look up to heaven, but was beating his breast and saying, ‘God, be merciful to me, a sinner!’ I tell you, this man went down to his home justified rather than the other; for all who exalt themselves will be humbled, but all who humble themselves will be exalted.” –Luke 18: 9-14, NRSV
And maybe those 40 days of “giving up,” of fasting (whether from food or a news feed), or surrendering power or confidence, or confessing, “I can’t be this; I can’t do this on my own,” will alter something at my core . . . forever. Maybe that is what I dislike most about Lent. Maybe that is why I have to be driven to it, rather than politely invited. –David Brock, Driven Into Lent
- How is the Lenten challenge to give something up actually changing you at your core? Are you willing to be changed at your core?
- How do you respond to the invitation of humility and surrender that come in the Lenten wilderness? What is the deepest call of this season for your life?
- Prayerfully dwell in the parable from Luke 18:9-14. What is God’s invitation to you in this text?
Above all, clothe yourselves with love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in the one body. And be thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly… –Colossians 3:14-16, NRSV
Lenten practices help guide and shape our response to loosening the bonds of injustice, freeing the oppressed, caring for the homeless poor and hungry, and nurturing right relationships (adapted from Isaiah 58:6–7). This is at the heart of the call for all disciples—to accept Christ’s mission as our mission. The words have become so familiar to us it is easy to think we have been fully formed in our understanding. But “God has work for us to do” (“Till All the Jails Are Empty,” Community of Christ Sings 303). There is deep, soul-tending, disciple-forming work for each of us to do. This work is not so that individuals can bask in self-righteousness. The work of Lent guides us to more fully and authentically engage in the world-changing mission of embodied Easter hope. –Janné Grover, Lenten Formation
- What is the deep, soul-tending, disciple-forming work you are invited into this Lenten season?
- Where do you experience embodied Easter hope? How are you called to embody Easter hope?
- Prayerfully dwell in the text from Colossians 3:14-16. What is God’s invitation to you in this text today?
“The Spirit of the Lord is upon me,
because he has anointed me
to bring good news to the poor.
He has sent me to proclaim release to the captives
and recovery of sight to the blind,
to let the oppressed go free,
to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.”
–Luke 4:18-19, NRSV
Jesus invites us into this intentional rhythm of Spirit-led ministry, as recorded in Luke’s Gospel. Claimed by the Spirit’s presence in baptism (Luke 3:21–22), Jesus is led by the Spirit into his wilderness experience (Luke 4:1). Filled with the Spirit, he emerges from the wilderness encounter to proclaim his mission with, “the Spirit of the Lord is upon me” (Luke 4:18). In his wilderness experience, Jesus was tempted by the powers of the world, to which he responded with his sacred “No.” His statement of mission honors the people and circumstances to which he offers his sacred “Yes!” –Janné Grover, Lenten Formation
- Where do you find yourself in this rhythm of Spirit-led ministry?
- What “sacred no” do you need to say? How does this make room for God’s “sacred yes?”
- Prayerfully dwell in the text above. What is God’s invitation for you in these words today?