Tag Archives: Lent

Deo Gratias


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Deo Gratias is Latin for “Thanks be to God.” Remembering to give thanks for all of our blessings, big and small, helps us to find God in our everyday moments and gives us an attitude of gratitude! Colleen at Thoughts on Grace has organized this meme and you can contribute by clicking here. This week I’m thankful for:

  • For a winter that’s been milder than usual even though today’s its quite cold.
  • For Lent and Ash Wednesday. It is and should be a hard time, but Christians are in this together, side by side working on their relationship with God and reviewing how they live their lives. I like seeing people around town with the black smudges on their heads.
  • For my library. This winter I’ve used it so much. Not just for books and DVDs, but I tried out the Great Books Club and may have made a new friend there. I also have been going to a great yoga class there and today saw an afternoon movie for free.
  • For the assisted living place my aunt is now in. She’s gotten used to this arrangement and it’s clean and cheerful. She doesn’t do them, but there are activities available. (The only thing I’d grumble about is the horrid food. You don’t need to cook broccoli for half an hour.)
  • For the chance last week to visit my cousin who’s 83 in Florida. Her husband of 60-some years died in 2015 and while Ann is so cheerful and outgoing, it’s been a tough year for her. I missed our visits but got to go there for a few days.
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Deo Gratias

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Deo Gratias is Latin for “Thanks be to God.” Remembering to give thanks for all of our blessings, big and small, helps us to find God in our everyday moments and gives us an attitude of gratitude! Colleen at Thoughts on Grace has organized this meme and you can contribute by clicking here. This week I’m thankful for:

March 2014 006

  1. The plum blossoms that have burst out.
  2. The warm temperatures.
  3. The opportunity to tutor a lovely, cheerful high school senior planning to go to college in North America in the fall and who’s teaching me about Chinese culture.
  4. For classic movies like Lifeboat by Alfred Hitchcock. I watched it last week and it was engrossing.
  5. For Lent because, even if I don’t do all I wanted, it helps me focus on God.

The Christ Hymn

I found this devotion both sincere and helpful. I’ve never been good at memorizing scripture, but thanks to Eva will try.

By Eva Lapp, a sophomore peace, justice and conflict studies major from Goshen, Ind.

SCRIPTURE: Philippians 2:5-11 (NRSV)
DEVOTIONAL:

Growing up, memorizing Bible passages never made sense to me. My experience at church and school was that I would repeatedly stumble through a passage until the words stayed in my mind and on my tongue just long enough that I could receive a golden sticker or a shining A+. Occasionally I would convince myself that the next time I would really study the passage and become a good Christian who could rattle off any number of memorized verses. But this spiritual discipline never became my “thing.”

Then this past fall I took a required Bible course here at Goshen College and, lo and behold, we had Scripture memorization quizzes. What a joy, I thought sarcastically. After slogging my way through several passages and fulfilling my grade expectation, I came across today’s passage, the Christ Hymn. I went through the same motions: memorize, take the quiz, get an A, forget the passage. But, a few weeks afterwards, I came across the passage again and wrote it in my journal. The next day I looked at it again and tested my memory skills to find that I could recite most of the passage!

The lilting nature of this hymn speaks to my poetic sensibilities. Memorizing this passage was natural and in these days and weeks of Lent I recover this passage each day as a reminder of my faith. It is a reminder of my decision in life to follow Christ and what that entails. It is a reminder that Christ comes in the name of God, that Jesus is God and thus his actions reflect God’s vision for humanity. As I relish each word and savor the gentle prayer-like movement of the verses, I remind myself that….

The blessed one comes in the name of the Lord and thus, “Let the same mind be in you that was in Christ Jesus” (2:5).

SCRIPTURE: Philippians 2:5-11 (NRSV)
Let the same mind be in you that was in Christ Jesus,
who, though he was in the form of God,
did not regard equality with God
as something to be exploited,
but emptied himself,
taking the form of a slave,
being born in human likeness.
And being found in human form,
he humbled himself
and became obedient to the point of death—
even death on a cross.
Therefore God also highly exalted him
and gave him the name
that is above every name,
so that at the name of Jesus
every knee should bend,
in heaven and on earth and under the earth,
and every tongue should confess
that Jesus Christ is Lord,
to the glory of God the Father.

Goshen’s Lenten Devotionals

Goshen College puts together some great devotionals in Lent and Advent that really are great springboards for reflection. here’s one from this week by Michael Sherer, information technology services director

As human beings, we are designed by God with appetites. Our creaturely drives for food, water, sleep and sex keep us alive and sustain the species, but we are obviously far more complex than that. George Otis, Jr.’s “Life Appetites Test” lists 35 possible appetites, and I think he missed a few! Who of us can claim that our own appetites are always in balance and healthy? They compete with and even replace one another. Any dieter knows that eating is often not about hunger. Teens have sex for a raft of reasons that are not sexual. Drugs and alcohol are dangerous in part because their addictive powers can overwhelm other important and socially redeeming appetites.

The season of Lent is an annual reminder that we are by nature not in balance, and that by giving something up we can better focus our attention on God. North American culture has little room for asceticism, and I would argue, little room for God either. We have 35+ appetites ready to take the place of our need for God and a 24/7/365 consumer culture ready to sate them.

In today’s passage, Psalm 63, David speaks to us across time, space and culture about his relationship with God. And he does it in terms of appetites. David thirsts for God. God’s love satisfies him as much as the richest food. He thinks about God all night long in bed (instead of sleeping? while sleeping?). In the process, David frames his relationship with God as a powerful appetite. God’s love is better than life! It’s no accident that this Psalm was written in the desert, a barren place barely able to support life, but with a long tradition of stimulating spiritual reflection. In that place, where hunger and thirst are never far away, David stimulated his appetite for relationship with God. His writing conveys a spiritual capacity that far outstrips my own, and I admire it. I want it. Lent provides me with the opportunity to work at it.

SCRIPTURE: Psalm 63:1-8 (NRSV)
A Psalm of David, when he was in the Wilderness of Judah.
O God, you are my God, I seek you,
my soul thirsts for you;
my flesh faints for you,
as in a dry and weary land where there is no water.
So I have looked upon you in the sanctuary,
beholding your power and glory.
Because your steadfast love is better than life,
my lips will praise you.
So I will bless you as long as I live;
I will lift up my hands and call on your name.
My soul is satisfied as with a rich feast,
and my mouth praises you with joyful lips
when I think of you on my bed,
and meditate on you in the watches of the night;
for you have been my help,
and in the shadow of your wings I sing for joy.
My soul clings to you;
your right hand upholds me.


Deo Gratias

Deo Gratias is Latin for “Thanks be to God.” Remembering to give thanks for all of our blessings, big and small, helps us to find God in our everyday moments and gives us an attitude of gratitude! 

Here’s where I’ll post my weekly thanks since Thankful Women’s Book of Blessings has ended.

Government Building, Phnom Penh

Government Building, Phnom Penh

This week I’m especially thankful for:

  1. Lent, a special time to examine my life and grow closer to God, to deepen my understanding and appreciation of how Christ lived and sacrificed for us.
  2. The pope, who’s wisely considered what’s best for the church.
  3. My safe arrival in Phnom Penh where I’ll speak at a teacher’s conference on Saturday.
  4. My friend Mary from high school, that she was able to visit me and her family in Chicago. I’m so blessed to have several old friends from my days at Marillac High School, a wonderful girls’ Catholic school.
  5. Our new chaplain who offered a challenge to try to give up and feast upon transformative practices during Lent.

For Lent

Sunday at mass the priest offered a list of Lenten practices that are more trans-formative than, say giving up chocolate.

Fast from worry; feast on God’s providence.
Fast from complaining; feast on appreciation.
Fast from pessimism; feast on optimism.
Fast from hostility; feast on tenderness.
Fast from unrelenting pressures; feast from unceasing prayer.
Fast from judging others; feast on Christ dwelling in them.
Fast from fear of illness; feast on the healing power of God.

Fast from words that pollute; feast on speech that purifies.
Fast from discontent; feast on gratitude.
Fast from anger; feast on patience.
Fast from personal anxiety; feast on the fullness of truth.
Fast from bitterness; feast on forgiveness.
Fast from self-concern; feast on compassion.
Fast from discouragement; feast on hope.

Fast from gossip; feast on purposeful silence.
Fast from problems that overwhelm; feast on prayer that sustains.
Fast from thoughts that weaken; feast on promises that inspire.
Fast from apparent darkness; feast on the reality of light.


Lenten Devotion by Goshen College

This lent I’m reading these devotionals sent Monday through Friday by the community at Goshen College. Each day a student,  professor or staff member offers a personal reflection guaranteed to make you ponder.

SCRIPTURE: Mark 8:31-38 (NRSV)

31 Then he 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. 32 He said all this quite openly. And Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him. 33 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.” 34 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. 35 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. 36 For what will it profit them to gain the whole world and forfeit their life? 37 Indeed, what can they give in return for their life? 38 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.”
DEVOTIONAL:

Please read the Scripture again before you start reading this devotion. Did you read it? OK, I trust you. Notice the depth of Jesus’ statement, “If any want to become my followers, let them deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me.” The Message translates it this way; “Anyone who intends to come with me has to let me lead. You’re not in the driver’s seat; I am. Don’t run from suffering; embrace it. Follow me and I’ll show you how” (emphasis mine).

Two verses earlier, Peter approached Jesus. This was just after he found out that Jesus must be killed. This did not sound appealing to Peter. Peter loved Jesus. Peter knew that Jesus loved him. Peter was comfortable with this love relationship. Peter felt threatened with the thought of suffering. Jesus responded with comparing Peter to Satan. Whoa! I don’t know about you but being compared with Satan is not what I want from my loving Savior.

Often times we have our own plans of how our walk with Christ should work out. We build safe lives, consuming Christ’s love but not allowing it to flow out of us. We do not lose our lives for Christ’s sake or the Good News.

Often times Christians are like Peter. We love telling Jesus that he is wrong and that our way is best. We become comfortable with the love that we have experienced but are uncomfortable with the conflict that comes because of the controversy of the Gospel. But Jesus calls us to lose ourselves for this controversy.

By Nate Manning, a senior interdisciplinary major from Middleville, Mich.


A Thankful Woman’s Book of Blessings

On Wednesdays, Judy, creator of an inspiring blog, A Thankful Woman’s Book of Blessings encourages participants to list their blessings, to give thanks for the five things in the past week and then link to Judy’s blog.

Be sure to also check out her other blog and her website when you visit.

This week I am thankful for:

  1. New friends, Kristyn and Bev, who went exploring the tea market with me on Saturday.
  2. New friend, Helene, who’s got a lovely spirit and lots of good stories. I also admire how she changed her life plans to take care of her granddaughter.
  3. A new semester, a new beginning.
  4. That I got accepted to the Marquette Masters of Educational Policy and Leadership, though I have to see if I get a fellowship.
  5. For Lent as I think we need a season to reflect and help us get a little more serious about what God wants from each of us.

Lent Begins

I’m listening to a good podcast on Lent from Midday Connection. Check it out.

Though this is the third day of lent, I’m still searching for what I’m going to do. Of course, I won’t eat meat on Friday, but I’m looking for more to do and hoping to do something positive and giving something up. In the past I’ve given up police dramas like Law and Order and others. That had a profound effect as my mood changed and I found myself more serene by doing so. In fact, after that I watched that genre a lot easier.

Here’s a link to an interesting story on churches that take the giving of ashes out of the church and into the street, quite innovative. I think there are good ways to be public about faith. When it’s done with humility, we’re doing God’s work. He doesn’t want us to be embarrassed about our beliefs and I think we can be guilty of that. I think we can be more inviting.