Lenten Spiritual Practice- Week 1

Katie Harmon-McLaughlin, Pastor at Orange Community of Christ, shares their congregation’s weekly Spiritual Practices for Lent on our blog. You may find these practices helpful for your own Lenten journey.

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Our Congregation, Orange Community of Christ, is journeying through the wilderness this Lenten Season. We invite you to join us! Here is our first week’s spiritual practice. You can also discover your inner spiritual terrain by visiting- http://cofchristorange.org/2013/02/15/exploring-your-inner-terrain/.

Inward – During the season of Lent, we invite you to set aside some time each week to be present with God. This week, we begin our journey into the wilderness by setting aside the things that are unnecessary weight and will slow us down. Spend some time in reflection on the following quotes and questions and then in prayer.

“The purpose of Lent… is above all a preparation to rejoice in Divine Love. And this preparation consists in receiving the gift of God’s mercy- a gift which we receive insofar as we open our hearts to it, casting out what cannot remain in the same room with mercy.” -Thomas Merton, Lent and Easter Wisdom

What do you need to cast out from your heart that cannot remain in the same room as mercy?

“When did the collision between our appetites and the needs of our souls happen? Was there a heart attack? Did we get laid off from work? Did a beloved child become a bored stranger, a marriage fall silent and cold? Or, by some exquisite working of God’s grace, did we just find the courage to look truth in the eye and, for once, not blink? How did we come to know that we were dying a slow and unacknowledged death? And that the only way back to life was to set all our packages down and begin again, carrying with us only what we really needed? We travail. We are heavy laden. Refresh us, O homeless, jobless, possessionless Savior. You came naked and naked you go. And so it is for us. So it is for all of us.” -Barbara Cawthorne Crafton, Living Lent

What do you need to set down? What do you need to pick up as you begin again?

Outward – De-clutter your life this week. Is there something you can simplify in order to discover what is most essential for the journey ahead? This may be through opening up your time, choosing to give away a possession, or fasting from a habit/food item for the week.

Allow this scripture to be in your thoughts as you go through your week: What new thing is God doing in the world around you?

“I am about to do a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it? I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert.” -Isaiah 43

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