I used this lovely poem today for the start of Lent, found on a website full of all kinds of helpful things: https://alifegivinglent.wordpress.com/
I preached on the Mark passage from the lectionary on the connection between Jesus’ identity being affirmed by the Father: This is my son, the beloved. In him I am well pleased,” and his ability to withstanding the testing that followed. Preaching to myself of course; as ever, the lesson in it smacked me between the eyes.
It’s a continual practice and habit, to try and hear those words being spoken over us – the banner of the Father’s love strung up over us in lights. And yet that knowledge is the source of our ability to turn, to face ourselves squarely. The inability to acknowledge it is also the source of most of our sin / wrongdoing / bad habits – our alienation from ourselves, the things we do to obliterate the pain or distract from it. That’s a bit ouchy for me right now.
A Time of Turning Round
Truly dust we are, and to dust we shall return;
and truly yours we are, and to you we shall return.
Help this to be a time of turning round and beginning again.
Through the forty days of Lent, help us to follow you
and to find you: in the discipline of praying
and in the drudgery of caring –
in whatever we deny ourselves,
and whatever we set ourselves to learn or do.
Help us to discover you
in our loneliness and in community,
in our emptiness and our fulfilment,
in our sadness and our laughter.
Help us to find you when we ourselves are lost.
Help us to follow you on the journey to Jerusalem
to the waving palms of the people’s hope,
to their rejection, to the cross and empty tomb.
Help us to perceive new growth amid the ashes of the old.
Help us, carrying your cross, to be signs of your Kingdom. Amen.
— written by Jan Sutch Pickard, in Traveling to Easter with Jesus as our Guide