Whew! After six worship services, four rehearsals, hours of set up and tear down, creating videos, powerpoints, coordinating volunteers, and many prayers (some frantic and desperate, others more reflective and contemplative) I can say with Jesus, “It is finished!” Of course, his work was the greatest and most difficult deed in all of history. Mine was just a very small part to continue the proclamation and remembrance of this great event to our generation.
I have a couple snippets of reflection; things that empowered my life over the past 47 days, when I took on the ashen cross to commence the season of Lent. I made a commitment to be more focused on the Lord and more faithful in my rhythms. So here are a few things I picked up:
– As in the Lent tradition, I chose to not say the word, “Alleluia” until Easter Sunday. It’s not that I didn’t praise God during that time. I praised Him constantly during my Personal Worship Times, Worship in the Everyday Ordinary, with my small and large faith communities. But I chose to reserve the word “Alleluia” until Resurrection Day. And when I said it (it was at 4am on Easter Sunday; in preparation for Sunrise Service), it was like an “explosion” of joy coming out of my mouth. I praise God for many things, but to praise Him for conquering the powers of darkness and death through the Resurrection is the greatest. That word has a deeper meaning to me, as does the event that begins all the “Alleluias.
– Praying “Fixed Hour Prayer” and Lectio Divina on the Lectionary passages throughout Lent was a wonderful journey. Something very powerful happened in my soul as I walked with Jesus and the disciples in the Gospel readings. When Palm Sunday came, as I read about Jesus setting his face like flint toward Jerusalem and the Cross, I felt that turn. The spiritual intensity was ratcheted up a couple of notches. I was no longer just reading about the journey – I was on the journey and finding myself in the Gospel stories!
– The Lenten way of the Cross, combined with a new discipline that I’m learning (called “Welcoming Prayer” – more on that in future blogs), has helped me to overcome tendencies and patterns that lead to darkness. There has definitely been some “dying” going on, especially toward how I react to hard situations or interactions.
As a Baptist (or Presbyterian, for that matter), I was never really taught about the rhythm of the Church calendar. But spending the past Lent season in these spiritual practices have opened up a new door for me. I can’t wait to see and experience what the Lord has for me in the next 50 day season … to Pentecost!
What new spiritual discipline or practice has helped you expand your Whole Life Worship to God?
What was meaningful to you during Easter, Good Friday, Holy Week or Lent?