Then Jesus began to teach them that the Son of Man must undergo great suffering, and be rejected by the elders, the chief priests, and the scribes, and be killed and after three days rise again. He said all this quite openly. And Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him. But turning and looking at his disciples, he rebuked Peter and said, ‘Get behind me, Satan! For you are setting your mind not on divine things but on human things.’ He called the crowd with his disciples, and said to them, ‘If any want to become my followers, let them deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. For those who want to save their life will lose it, and those who lose their life for my sake, and for the sake of the gospel, will save it. For what will it profit them to gain the whole world and forfeit their life? Indeed, what can they give in return for their life? Those who are ashamed of me and of my words in this adulterous and sinful generation, of them the Son of Man will also be ashamed when he comes in the glory of his Father with the holy angels.’
Monday, February 15
“Lent is the opportunity to change what we ought to change but have not…Lent is about becoming, doing and changing whatever it is that is blocking the fullness of life in us right now…Lent is a summons to live anew…Lent is the time to let life in again, to rebuild the worlds we’ve allowed to go sterile, to ‘fast and weep and mourn’ for the goods we’ve foregone. If our own lives are not to die from lack of nourishment, we must sacrifice the pride or the sloth or the listlessness that blocks us from beginning again. Then, as Joel (2:12-18) promises, God will have pity on us and pour into our hearts the life we know down deep that we are lacking.”
Help me, O God, to sacrifice all the things that block me from beginning again–all the things that keep me from experiencing new life. Amen.
Tuesday, February 16
“But what I believe, and what my moderately left–and right– wing Christian brothers and sisters believe, is that Jesus preached a gospel of radical sacrifice, of giving away everything we possibly can–our time, our money, our prayers–to the have-nots, the same old/same old suffering people of this world, widows and whole nations.”
O God, help me to live into a life of “radical sacrifice” for you. Amen.
Wednesday, February 17
“Many people profess Jesus but bring him into their own worldview instead of being converted to Jesus’ worldview of the kingdom of God. Discipleship is the ongoing, focused process of being moved from believer to follower, from donation to sacrifice, from moralistic principles to lifestyles of self-denial, from the pursuit of success to true significance. Disciples learn to drop everything they have into the hands of Jesus to be directed by God’s purpose.”
Lord, melt me, mold me, fill me, use me; make me into a disciple of your Son the Christ. Amen.
Thursday, February 18
“Jesus crossed lines and broke rules for the sake of God’s love, and he willingly suffered the consequences. The cry, ‘My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?’ is the pained cry of a lonely man with natural, human doubts. Mark’s gospel strips away the triumph of certainty, and leaves us with a savior who sought the love of God from where he was, just as he was.”
–Jane Shaw, A Practical Christianity: Meditations for the Season of Lent
Oh God, Jesus sacrificed himself for me. Help me to sacrifice myself for others. Amen.
Friday, February 19
“Fasting, perhaps as much as anything else, helps us to go into our ‘inner room’, the space within ourselves. Fasting helps us shut the door of our inner selves to the outside attractions which crowd in and dissipate our prayer time and energies. Fasting is the act of temporarily giving up something that is very important to us in order that we may use the time normally given to that thing for prayer and to reflect upon the pain of the temporary sacrifice to better understand the mystery and meaning of Christ’s passion and sacrifice for us.”
–Rueben P. Job and Norman Shawchuck: A Guide to Prayer for Ministers and Other Servants
O God, give me the courage and will to fast this Lent. May I better understand the mystery and meaning of Christ’s sacrifice for us. Amen.
Saturday, February 20
The rising of the sun had made everything look so different-all the colours and shadows were changed-that for a moment they didn’t see the important thing. Then they did. The Stone Table was broken in two pieces by a great crack that ran down it from end to end; and there was no Aslan.“Oh, oh, oh!” cried the two girls rushing back to the Table.
“Oh, it’s too bad,” sobbed Lucy, “they might have left the body alone.”
“Who’s done it?” cried Susan. “What does it mean? Is it more magic?”
“It means,” said Aslan, “that though the Witch knew the Deep Magic, there is a magic deeper still which she did not know. Her knowledge goes back only to the dawn of Time. But if she could have looked a little further back, into the stillness and the darkness before Time dawned, she would have read there a different incantation. She would have known that when a willing victim who had committed no treachery was killed in a traitor’s stead, the Table would crack and Death itself would start working backwards.”
–C.S. Lewis, “The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe”
God of the Past, Present and Future, help us to remember you are present both in good times and in troubled times. Amen.