Sunday, March 13, 2011

The First Sunday in Lent (2011)

By the seventh day God had finished the work he had been doing; so on the seventh day he rested from all his work. Then God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it he rested from all the work of creating that he had done. (Genesis 2)

Each Sunday morning I get up early (extra early today, as the absurd Spring-Forward time-change has taken effect!) so I can give Scout a decent walk before heading to church at for Praise Band practice. Typically, I show up around 7:15 so I can get my guitar in tune before the other instruments start up.

Then, right on 7:30, our director signals for quiet and - usually - asks me to lead an opening prayer. I always forget he's going to do that, so it's "prayer-on-the-fly". This time, however, I'm thinking ahead.

This morning's prayer: Good morning, Lord. This is the first Sunday in Lent. We're here this morning because we know that the best way to prepare for Easter is to love you with all that we are, and one way we can do that is to bring you our very best when we gather together for worship. 
  • We're a little extra tired this morning so we ask that you animate us with your Spirit; 
  • We're worried about our brothers and sisters in Japan, so we ask that you work through the relief efforts and that you touch the hearts of your people to be ready and generous with help;
  • And we each hold the burden of people we love sometimes heavy on our minds, so we ask that you speak peace and hope through the ministry of our lives.
Unify us through the power of your love, we pray, and equip us to lead this congregation into your presence through song. We ask because we believe; and we believe because you are always faithful. Amen

The official "Forty-Days" of Lent does not count the Sundays. The purpose of each Sunday is refreshment, renewal, and extravagant worship. I believe that being faithful in worship adds meaning and direction to the 40 days of preparation.

Lent is a good time to think about how we observe our Sundays. Is this day qualitatively different from the other six? If not, maybe some imaginative and creative ideas are in order. After all, there's a natural rhythm to the order of Creation that serves as an important component of a balanced life - physically, emotionally and spiritually.
It may well be your avenue to a deeper peace - DEREK

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