for the first time in many years, i have chosen to participate in the Lenten season by giving up certain things. i know that fasting as a spiritual discipline is a vital and necessary part of a Christ follower's journey, but this year, i felt compelled to return to this practice. perhaps my Catholic roots run deeper than i thought.

on saturday evenings, when our infamous movie nights are not happening, i like to spend some reflective time in preparation for the next morning's worship service. and since i got walter brueggemann's book prayers for a priviledged people, i like to use one of the prayers in that as my springboard. sadly, though, i do not do this as often as i would like to.

but tonight, i did, and my new friend walter has not disappointed me.

sustained by angels
on reading Mark 1:12-13

maybe we have not thought much about satan,
either in glib self-regard,
or in rejection of such silly speculation,
or in a way more urbane and benign
than to imagine such a character.

except that as we begin our strenuous Lenten trek,
we are aware
that the power of resistance is at work in our midst,
that the force of negation is alive and well,
that our best will is contradicted
by stuff that surges
against our best selves,
that we, even we, are prone to our
several addictions that render us helpless.

so we pray in the Lenten season,
give us primative freedom to
take full stock of satan and the power of
evil still among us in our prosperity and
wealth and sophistication,
and give us primitive openness
to your ministering angels
who are present with care and gentleness
and great nourishment.

in the Lenten season, give us freedom
to reconfigure our lives
as a testing field between the force of satan
and the food of your angels.

enter our lives with power for newness,
deliver us from a sense of naive mastery,
and give us honest contact with our vulnerability.

enter the deep places of our life and claim us for your purposes.
we would be more free than we are,
more bold than we dare,
more obedient than we choose.

we wait for the gift of your large gift of life
that will wrench us away from death
to the miracle of Easter joy.
i think this is enough to think about for tonight... and exactly what i needed to hear.


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