Lenten Reflection – 1st Sunday

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1 Praise the Lord!
Praise God in his sanctuary;
praise him in his mighty firmament!
2 Praise him for his mighty deeds;
praise him according to his surpassing greatness!

3 Praise him with trumpet sound;
praise him with lute and harp!
4 Praise him with tambourine and dance;
praise him with strings and pipe!
5 Praise him with clanging cymbals;
praise him with loud clashing cymbals!
6 Let everything that breathes praise the Lord!
Praise the Lord!

~Psalm 150 (NRSV)

The season of Lent includes 40 days starting with Ash Wednesday through the Saturday before Easter, not including Sundays. On Sundays we sabbath from our Lenten practices in order to worship God, celebrate Jesus, and give thanks for the resurrection. All of this is in preparation for our Easter celebration, giving hope to those who suffer. And so today we celebrate. Today we break our fasts, remembering God’s goodness, the Lord’s provision, the constant presence of the Holy One of Israel.

But it is still Lent. So, we must ask ourselves some difficult questions even in the midst of our worship—especially in the midst of our worship. I honor God with my lips as I sing praises and offer prayers, but do the words I use in worship match my behavior and my life choices? Have hurt, intentionally or unintentionally? Do I need to seek reconciliation, knowing it will take time? Am I willing to invest the time, not to win God’s graces but because that is the kind of relationship God seeks for me and through me? As I enter the sanctuary this morning, and as I gather with my community of faith to share in breaking our fasts together, is my heart in tune with God? If not, is there something I need to do? Is there something that has been gnawing at my heart for a long time but that I have tried hard to avoid or ignore? What must I do, Lord? What must I do to be free of these chains of deceit and truly praise you honestly?

Lord, make my praises to you true. Continue to transform me by your love, helping me become the person you want me to be for the good of this world. Help me seek the things your heart seeks, to see the things you see as possible, to envision your hope for humanity and all creation. Guide me in my fast this week as I seek to be faithful to you for the benefit of my community the world over. Blessed be the name of Jesus and may I strive to follow in his Way, the Way you revealed through him. Amen.

Today, we rest. Tomorrow we work for the reconciliation of the world. Thanks be to God.

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