Posted by: pastordarren | March 23, 2010

The Journey of Lent

The following was sent as part of a devotion and is from Henri Nouwen’s “A Cry for Mercy: Prayers from the Genesee”. 

An excerpt from A Cry for Mercy: Prayers from the Genesee, Henri J.M. Nouwen

O Lord, this holy season of Lent is passing quickly. I entered into it with fear, but also with great expectations. I hoped for a great breakthrough, a powerful conversion, a real change of heart; I wanted Easter to be a day so full of light that not even a trace of darkness would be left in my soul. But I know that you do not come to your people with thunder and lightning. Even St. Paul and St. Francis journeyed through much darkness before they could see your light. Let me be thankful for your gentle way. I know you are at work. I know you will not leave me alone. I know you are quickening me for Easter – but in a way fitting to my own history and my own temperament.

I pray that these last three weeks, in which you invite me to enter more fully into the mystery of your passion, will bring me a greater desire to follow you on the way that you create for me and to accept the cross that you give to me. Let me die to the desire to choose my own way and select my own desire. You do not want to make me a hero but a servant who loves you.

Be with me tomorrow and in the days to come, and let me experience your gentle presence. Amen.

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A Cry for Mercy: Prayers from the Genesee, © Henri J.M. Nouwen. Published by Doubleday. Currently out of print but due to be re-released soon. Used with kind permission of the publisher.

For me, Lent as Advent, is about the journey, not a  single event.  Lent is a time of preparation for the Easter celebration of new life, but the journey and preparation sometimes is not an easy one.  I can relate to what Nouwen says above about expectations, breakthroughs and changes of heart.  I know that God is working in my life and the life of the church, but wish too that God would act faster and in bigger steps.  God not only prepares us during this time for the celebration of Easter, but also for new life that comes with the resurrection.  Sometimes the best way is with small steps, other times with big leaps and bounds.

Technically, Easter is the end of the Lent season, yet it is also the beginning of the new.  The journey prepares us for the new but if we have not done the journey work, then the celebration and new life of Easter will not have the same meaning and power.

Thank you God, for what you are doing and continue to do in the journey of Lent toward the Cross and the Resurrection to new life.

Where have you seen God move and work in your life and in the life of your church during Lent and are you being prepared for the new life of Easter?

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