MAKING SPACE FOR GOD

Lenten Practice: Fasting
Daily Act: Choose to eliminate one task from your schedule today. Spend that time intentionally dwelling in God’s presence, even if only for a moment!
Weekly Prayer Phrase: Repeat this phrase slowly as you breathe deeply. You may choose to memorize this phrase and repeat it throughout your day.

“OPEN ME TO RECEIVE MORE OF YOU.”

by Katie Harmon-McLaughlin

Creating space can be hard. Our basic need to feel needed competes with the humble reminder that we are not in control.

This is what Lent has come to say to us. Yes, our responsibilities and commitments matter. We are connected to one another and our choices impact all the other lives in contact with our own. Yet, it is a wider perspective that Lent brings us. It is an invitation to see everything we did not make and cannot do, to cease the anxious pace of “not enough”, to discover renewal in humility.

It is the invitation to rest, for once, for a moment, maybe even for a while, in our belovedness as children of God- created, enough.

A couple weeks ago, some responsibilities were canceled due to frigid temperatures and harsh winter winds in Northeast Ohio. I allowed the winter storm to bring a Sabbath blessing. I stopped. I laid down everything expected of me. As I eased into the day, I felt my anxieties lessen. The world did not stop after all. What I had perceived as a thin thread holding everything together in my life began to feel more like a rope- reliable, strong to hold.

This isn’t just about feeling good individually. Sabbath has systemic impact. Just as we think everyone around us is impacted when we lay something down, everyone is impacted when we refuse to stop and breathe. Everyone includes the people closest to us, our communities, and the earth that is our home. Sabbath keeping is an act of justice, a radical counter-cultural way in a world that measures worth by accumulation of busyness and achievement.

Space making is peace making.
Sabbath is the threshold to shalom.

May you breathe deeper this day as you create space within for the God who says- you are enough.

The Peace of Wild Things
By Wendell Berry

When despair for the world grows in me
and I wake in the night at the least sound
in fear of what my life and my children’s lives may be,
I go and lie down where the wood drake
rests in his beauty on the water, and the great heron feeds.
I come into the peace of wild things
who do not tax their lives with forethought
of grief. I come into the presence of still water.
And I feel above me the day-blind stars
waiting with their light. For a time
I rest in the grace of the world, and am free.

Blessed Letting Go

First Sunday of Lent
Practice: FASTING

Weekly Prayer Phrase: Repeat this phrase slowly as you breathe deeply. You may choose to memorize this phrase and repeat it throughout your day.

“OPEN ME TO RECEIVE MORE OF YOU.”

Fasting Blessing
Katie Harmon-McLaughlin

Blessed is the space made
From letting go
Blessed is each yearning
For what you’ve given
That reminds you of
Why you have given it

Blessed is what the space can mean
As it grows inside you
Sturdy for holding
What you never imagined
You could hold

Blessed is all that enters
The inward space
As it is being cleared
The way the Spirit
Stretches outward
Within you
And breathes deep
A joyful sigh of liberation

Blessed is the emptying
The heart-focused release
The desire to love
More than the desire to have

Blessed is the space made
That expands as you see
How the One you seek
Comes to your threshold
In a thousand faces and forms
Waiting to be received

Blessed is the emptiness
Blessed is the openness
Blessed is the letting go