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Lenten Daily Devotional February 13 th

– March 30 2013 th

Steadfast love and faithfulness meet; righteousness and peace kiss each other. Faithfulness springs up from the ground, and righteousness looks down from the sky. — Psalm 85:10 -11


WE E K O N E February 13TH – February 20 TH

Wednesday, February 13

Psalm 51 1 Have mercy on me, O God, according to your steadfast love; according to your abundant mercy blot out my transgressions. 2 Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin! 3 For I know my transgressions, and my sin is ever before me. 4 Against you, you only, have I sinned and done what is evil in your sight, so that you may be justified in your words and blameless in your judgment. 5 Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity, and in sin did my mother conceive me. 6 Behold, you delight in truth in the inward being, and you teach me wisdom in the secret heart. 7 Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean; wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow. 8 Let me hear joy and gladness; let the bones that you have broken rejoice. 9 Hide your face from my sins, and blot out all my iniquities. 10 Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me. 11 Cast me not away from your presence, and take not your Holy Spirit from me. 12 Restore to me the joy of your salvation, and uphold me with a willing spirit. 13 Then I will teach transgressors your ways, and sinners will return to you. 14 Deliver me from bloodguiltiness, O God, O God of my salvation, and my tongue will sing aloud of your righteousness.

15 O Lord, open my lips, and my mouth will declare your praise. 16 For you will not delight in sacrifice, or I would give it; you will not be pleased with a burnt offering. 17 The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise. 18 Do good to Zion in your good pleasure; build up the walls of Jerusalem; 19 then will you delight in right sacrifices, in burnt offerings and whole burnt offerings; then bulls will be offered on your altar. NOTES:

Thursday, February 14

Lenten Prayer of St. Ephrem O Lord and Master of my life, Take from me the spirit of sloth, despair, lust of power, and idle talk. But give rather the spirit of chastity, humility, patience, and love to Thy servant. Yea, O Lord and King! Grant me to see my own transgressions, and not to judge my brother; For Thou art blessed unto ages of ages. Amen.

! The Lenten season begins then by a quest, a prayer for humility which is the beginning of true repentance. For repentance, above everything else, is a return to the genuine order of things, the restoration of the right vision. It is, therefore, rooted in humility, and humility — the divine and beautiful humility — is its fruit and end. — Fr. Alexander Schmemann, from Great Lent: Journey to Pascha NOTES:

Friday, February 15

Chiaroscuroed Deserts harbor more than desolation; Each grain of sand is the chiseled Remnant of place and time, Sinai’s sawdust — a spyglass, Showing us the wisdom of aged light Glinting and guiding us through Chiaroscuroed nights ringing Full of those age-old temptations: Satisfaction, safety, power — Folly is often sold as wisdom. But we shall not bend To these shadowed whispers, For the moon’s grace calls us, And the breath of God is moving mountains, Building a city whose cornerstone Is Peace, and faith will open its gates. — David Pappenhagen NOTES:

Thursday Dec. 1

Saturday, February 16

A Bright Sadness The purpose of Lent is not to force on us a few formal obligations, but to “soften” our heart so that it may open itself to the realities of the spirit, to experience the hidden “thirst and hunger” for communion with God. This Lenten “atmosphere,” this unique “state of mind,” is brought about mainly by means of worship, by the various changes introduced during that season into the liturgical life…Understood as a whole, they reveal and communicate the spirit of Lent, they make us see, feel, and experience that bright sadness which is the true message and gift of Lent. Little by little we begin to understand, or rather to feel, that this sadness is indeed “bright,” that a mysterious transformation is about to take place in us. It is as if we were reaching a place to which the noises and the fuss of life, of the street, of all that which usually fills our days and even nights, have no access — a place where they have no power. All that which seemed so tremendously important to us as to fill our mind, that state of anxiety which has virtually become our second nature, disappear somewhere and we begin to feel free, light and happy. It is not the noisy and superficial happiness which comes and goes twenty times a day and is so fragile and fugitive; it is a deep happiness which comes not from a single and particular reason but from our soul having, in the words of Dostoevsky, touched “another world.” And that which it has touched is made up of light and peace and joy, of an inexpressible trust. We understand then why the services had to be long and seemingly monotonous. We understand that it is simply impossible to pass from our normal state of mind made up almost entirely of fuss, rush, and care, into this new one without first “quieting down,” without restoring in ourselves a measure of inner stability. “Sad brightness”: the sadness of my exile, of the waste I have made of my life; the brightness of God’s presence and forgiveness, the joy of the recovered desire for God, the peace of the recovered home. Such is the climate of Lenten worship; such is its first and general impact on my soul. — Fr. Alexander Schmemann, from Great Lent: Journey to Pascha

WE E K T W O February 18TH – February 23RD

Monday, February 18

Lack of Faith Yes even when I don’t believe there is a place in me inaccessible to unbelief a patch of wild grace a stubborn preserve impenetrable pain untouched sleeping in the body music that builds its nest in silence — Anna Kamienska NOTES:

Almighty God, whose blessed Son was led by the Spirit to be tempted of Satan; Make speed to help thy servants who are assaulted by manifold temptations; and, as thou knowest their several infirmities, let each one find thee mighty to save; through Jesus Christ thy Son our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen. — Book of Common Prayer NOTES:

Tuesday, February 19

Genesis 3:24 Shalom broken, shattered, rent in two. Guarded with flaming swords, we stand outside looking in. Starved for shalom, grasping, drooling, eating stones for bread. We cower in thistle and branch, bursting the seams of our animal skins. Eyes that once saw God in the cool of the day now glimpse the cold metal ignite with glint of distant Sun. Tracking right to left, side to side. Shalom barricaded, dead-bolted, barred, obstructed from view. Hypnotized by swinging metal, we dream awake of old peace. Capturing shalom, in memory, glimpses, ancient instincts. Could we crash the cherubim, lay siege on contentment?

Rotten fruit teeters, tempts, falls into the peripheral. Dazzled, our attention distracts from the angels. Trading birthright for sham, a dripping, shepherd’s stew bloats our bellies. Pretending we are full, we doze at the eastern gate of Paradise. — Tamara Hill Murphy NOTES:

Wednesday, February 20

The Valley of Vision Lord, high and holy, meek and lowly, Thou hast brought me to the valley of vision, where I live in the depths but see Thee in the heights; hemmed in by mountains of sin I behold Thy glory. Let me learn by paradox that the way down is the way up, that to be low is to be high, that the broken heart is the healed heart, that the contrite spirit is the rejoicing spirit, that the repenting soul is the victorious soul, that to have nothing is to possess all, that to bear the cross is to wear the crown, that to give is to receive, that the valley is the place of vision. Lord, in the daytime stars can be seen from deepest wells, and the deeper the wells the brighter Thy stars shine; let me find Thy light in my darkness, Thy life in my death, Thy joy in my sorrow, Thy grace in my sin, Thy riches in my poverty, Thy glory in my valley. — Puritan Prayer NOTES:

Thursday, February 21

Deciduous Branch Winter, that coils in the thickets now, Will glide from the fields; the swinging rain Be knotted with flowers; on every bough A bird will meditate again. Lord, in the night if I should die, Who entertained your thrilling worm, Corruption wastes more than the eye Can pick from this imperfect form. I lie awake, hearing the drip Upon my sill; thinking, the sun Has not been promised; we who strip Summer to seed shall be undone. Now, while the antler of the eaves Liquifies, drop by drop, I brood On a Christian thing: unless the leaves Perish, the tree is not renewed. If all our perishable stuff Be nourished to its rot, we clean Our trunk of death, and in our tough And final growth are evergreen. — Stanley Kunitz NOTES:

Friday, February 22

E Tenebris Come down, O Christ, and help me! reach Thy hand, For I am drowning in a stormier sea Than Simon on Thy lake of Galilee: The wine of life is spilt upon the sand, My heart is as some famine-murdered land Whence all good things have perished utterly, And well I know my soul in Hell must lie If I this night before God’s throne should stand. ‘He sleeps perchance, or rideth to the chase, Like Baal, when his prophets howled that name From morn to noon on Carmel’s smitten height.’ Nay, peace, I shall behold, before the night, The feet of brass, the robe more white than flame, The wounded hands, the weary human face. —Oscar Wilde NOTES:

Almighty and everlasting God, you hate nothing you have made and forgive the sins of all who are penitent: Create and make in us new and contrite hearts, that we, worthily lamenting our sins and acknowledging our wretchedness, may obtain of you, the God of all mercy, perfect remission and forgiveness; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen. — Book of Common Prayer NOTES:

Saturday, February 23

A Lenten Exercise “You are like men who have been nailed body and soul to the cross of Jesus Christ, confirmed in love by his blood.” —Saint Ignatius of Antioch, quoted in The Liturgy of the Hours, Book III Recently, as I read from a letter by Saint Ignatius of Antioch written to the Church of Smyrna, I was deeply struck by these words: “You are like men who have been nailed body and soul to the cross of Jesus Christ, confirmed in love by his blood.” The vividness of this image is not my moment by moment mindset. How would I live differently if I lived out of the daily awareness of seeing myself nailed body and soul to the cross of Christ? In my imagination I pictured myself nailed—not going anywhere else but forcibly constrained to the cross. And there, body and soul, so consumed with pain that I’d be unable to think of anything else except casting myself on the mercy of God; and there “in Jesus”—closer to him than I’d ever been before—might I not be drawn into what he was suffering—sensing the weight of something unfathomable that he was bearing? Would I realize that the unfathomable was me with my sin—that I was being held there in love? And not only that—held there as a treasure of joy for which Jesus endured the cross (Hebrews 12:2). I wonder what might happen if I take merely fifteen minutes a day during Lent to be alone and quiet before Jesus and do this one thing: visualize myself nailed body and soul to the cross with him? Might my mindset be reshaped so that daily I’d respond to life in ways more like Jesus? — Ann Cogdell NOTES:

WE E K TH RE E February 25TH – March 2ND

Monday, February 25

Love (III) Love bade me welcome, yet my soul drew back, Guilty of dust and sin. But quick-ey’d Love, observing me grow slack From my first entrance in, Drew nearer to me, sweetly questioning If I lack’d anything. “A guest,” I answer’d, “worthy to be here”; Love said, “You shall be he.” “I, the unkind, the ungrateful? ah my dear, I cannot look on thee.” Love took my hand and smiling did reply, “Who made the eyes but I?” “Truth, Lord, but I have marr’d them; let my shame Go where it doth deserve.” “And know you not,” says Love, “who bore the blame?” “My dear, then I will serve.” “You must sit down,” says Love, “and taste my meat.” So I did sit and eat. — George Herbert NOTES:

O God, whose glory it is always to have mercy: Be gracious to all who have gone astray from thy ways, and bring them again with penitent hearts and steadfast faith to embrace and hold fast the unchangeable truth of thy Word, Jesus Christ thy Son; who with thee and the Holy Spirit liveth and reigneth, one God, for ever and ever. Amen. —Book of Common Prayer NOTES:

Tuesday, February 26

Fasting and Forgiveness Lent is the liberation of our enslavement to sin, from the prison of “this world.” And the Gospel lesson of this last Sunday (Matt. 6:14-21) sets the conditions for that liberation. The first one is fasting—the refusal to accept the desires and urges of our fallen nature as normal, the effort to free ourselves from the dictatorship of flesh and matter over the spirit. To be effective, however, our fast must not be hypocritical, a “showing off.” We must “appear not unto men to fast but to our Father who is in secret.” The second condition is forgiveness—“If you forgive men their trespasses, your Heavenly Father will also forgive you.” The triumph of sin, the main sign of its rule over the world, is division, opposition, separation, hatred. Therefore, the first break through this fortress of sin is forgiveness: the return to unity, solidarity, love. To forgive is to put between me and my “enemy” the radiant forgiveness of God Himself. To forgive is to reject the hopeless “dead-ends” of human relations and to refer them to Christ. Forgiveness is truly a “breakthrough” of the Kingdom into this sinful and fallen world. —Fr. Alexander Schmemann, from Great Lent: Journey to Pascha NOTES:

Wednesday, February 27

I Cannot Do This Alone O God, early in the morning I cry to you. Help me to pray And to concentrate my thoughts on you; I cannot do this alone. In me there is darkness, But with you there is light; I am lonely, but you do not leave me; I am feeble in heart, but with you there is help; I am restless, but with you there is peace. In me there is bitterness, but with you there is patience; I do not understand your ways, But you know the way for me... Restore me to liberty, And enable me to live now That I may answer before you and before men. Lord, whatever this day may bring, Your name be praised. Amen. —Dietrich Bonhoeffer

! “Frail children of dust, and feeble as frail, in thee do we trust, nor find thee to fail; thy mercies how tender, how firm to the end, our Maker, Defender, Redeemer and Friend.” —Robert Grant, from O Worship the King


Thursday, February 28

Repentance Lord Jesus, give me a deeper repentance, a horror of sin, a dread of its approach. Help me chastely to flee it and jealously to resolve that my heart shall be Thine alone. Give me a deeper trust, that I may lose myself to find myself in Thee, the ground of my rest, the spring of my being. Give me a deeper knowledge of Thyself as saviour, master, lord, and king. Give me deeper power in private prayer, more sweetness in Thy Word, more steadfast grip on its truth. Give me deeper holiness in speech, thought, action, and let me not seek moral virtue apart from Thee. Plough deep in me, great Lord, heavenly husbandman, that my being may be a tilled field, the roots of grace spreading far and wide, until Thou alone art seen in me, Thy beauty golden like summer harvest, Thy fruitfulness as autumn plenty. I have no master but Thee, no law but Thy will, no delight but Thyself, no wealth but that Thou givest, no good but that Thou blessest, no peace but that Thou bestowest. I am nothing but that Thou makest me. I have nothing but that I receive from Thee. I can be nothing but that grace adorns me. Quarry me deep, dear Lord, and then fill me to overflowing with living water. —Puritan Prayer NOTES:

Friday, March 1

In concrete terms, God is revealed in the cross of Christ who was abandoned by God. His grace is revealed in sinners. His righteousness is revealed in the unrighteous and those without rights, and his gracious election in the damned...This makes it easier to understand what Jesus did: it was not the devout, but the sinners, and not the righteous, but the unrighteous who recognized him, because in them he revealed the divine righteousness of grace, and the kingdom. He revealed his identity amongst those who had lost their identity, amongst the lepers, sick, rejected and despised, and was recognized as the Son of Man amongst those who had been deprived of their humanity. —Jürgen Moltmann, from The Crucified God

! The Lord is close to the brokenhearted; he rescues those whose spirits are crushed. —Psalm 34:18 NOTES:

Saturday, March 2

By a Thread Thirty years this June. Seventeen of those spent spiraling. The winds of blame, betrayal and plain adolescence So powerful, They spun him wide from his family berth Alone into, Adrift in, A sea of lonely experiments With loves, highs, false prophecies and lesser gods A time of closed doors, open windows, muttered curses, mysterious rituals. An eyeless storm promises no passing. Instead, Twisting more tightly as each year passes, More wreckage gathers. A once wonder-full mind, Now visited by voices Speaking violence Mere threats turn to jagged wounds. “I cut myself real bad.” “Don’t tell Dad and Mom.” There are Days without bread, Days without home. Countless days when prayers, raised, fall Drip, drip, Now a deluge in our open hands. There have been Claims of healing. Oaths sworn And then choked -

By empty apologies, Admissions without repentance, A savoring of sin’s practice, A comfort in its arms And a course set Far from you. You, Christ, Commanded the storm to still. Can’t you set this right? I fear late night calls. Can’t you set this right? I miss him every day. Can’t you set this right? My prayers are bound by doubt. Still we hang. All of us By a thread. —Shannon Coelho NOTES:

WE E K F OU R March 4TH – March 9TH

Monday, March 4

Looking at Stars The God of curved space, the dry God, is not going to help us, but the son whose blood splattered the hem of his mother’s robe. —Jane Kenyon NOTES:

Almighty God, who seest that we have no power of ourselves to help ourselves: Keep us both outwardly in our bodies and inwardly in our souls, that we may be defended from all adversities which may happen to the body, and from all evil thoughts which may assault and hurt the soul; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen. —Book of Common Prayer NOTES:

Tuesday, March 5

Hospitality for Those Who Mourn “Blessed are they who mourn for they shall be comforted.” —Jesus “Once, ritual lament would have been chanted; women would have been paid to beat their breasts and howl for you all night, when all is silent. Where can we find such customs now? So many have long since disappeared or been disowned. That’s what you had to come for: to retrieve the lament that we omitted.” —Rainer Maria Rilke, from “Requiem For A Friend” We stood in the driveway, dumbfounded. For days we’d walked from house to flooded house, mud-caked boots tracking the streets of our river-soaked town. Those with dry homes offering our hands and feet, pick-up trucks and prayers. Nobody had refused our help -- until now. One elderly woman sat at the curb inside her sedan, engine running, windows closed. We tapped on the glass. “Can we go into your house with you and help you clean out?” She lowered the window a crack, shook her head, smiled. “No, thank you. It’s too messy. I don’t want anyone to see it.” I could tell she was ashamed. She allowed us to pray with her, but what do you say? God give this elderly woman the supernatural strength to muck out a two-story house by herself. To comfort herself. To be OK all by herself. Doesn’t seem to be the right words, but it was all we could do. Unwelcomed, we walked away. Truth is we were offering more than clean-up; we were offering to enter her experience and share the indignity of all her belongings strewn and smelly. When she sent us away we both missed out on comfort for mourning. We could do nothing without her invitation into the wreckage, resisting the urge to pretty it up first. Because nothing is dignified about mourning. Nothing airbrushed or photo-shopped, water-colored, slick, or marketable. Mourning is guttural, physical, visceral, sloppy, and often, embarrassing.

Mourning with those who mourn is an act of welcome. An invitation to the wounded to feel sorrow, fear, anger, despair, loss, without judgment—without the need to see the silver lining or a grand plan. And the mourner shares in the act when he invites others to enter barefoot -- or with mud-caked boots -- into his mess. We of the Western world have little to offer in the way of mourning rituals; we wander the outskirts of grief, purchasing tokens for shrines because we know so few. People groups across time and space have cultivated communal acts of suffering. But in North America, our cultural responses to tragedy sound more like shocked indignation than liturgies of lament. For us to be present in this age, we will need to regain a communal language and posture for mourning. We will need to re-read Lamentations and Job, re-tune our anthems in a minor key, reject sympathetic slogans as a substitute for silence, remember the physical postures of mourning. I’d like to think our dusty fingers marked the glass of that idling sedan. With the barely-opened window she offered a minor welcome into her mourning, our whispered prayer a mutual invitation of comfort for her suffering days ahead. —Tamara Hill Murphy NOTES:

Wednesday, March 6

Cenacle I’d like to chew and chew on a word Savor its weight in my mouth Crack my teeth against its rougher edges And be what that word would have me be. It is a heavy word. I wait for it Though it is near; I spy it out Though like lightning finds a lightning rod, It has found me. A man would fight till daybreak for this word. Only say it, and my thoughts at night will turn from evil, From the violence of pride, From bland and brutal longings. Only say it. Place it as a petal on my tongue. Wake me to that word Mold me to its mystery Close me in its cloisters Force its martial mercy on its foe, That from my fraud and freedom I may be saved. —Nathan Raley NOTES:

Thursday, March 7

Small Things It usually starts taking shape from one word reveals itself in one smile sometimes in the blue glint of eyeglasses in a trampled daisy in a splash of light on a path in quivering carrot leaves in a bunch of parsley It comes from laundry hung on a balcony from hands thrust into dough It seeps through closed eyelids as through the prison wall of things of objects of faces of landscapes It’s when you slice bread when you pour out some tea It comes from a broom from a shopping bag from peeling new potatoes from a drop of blood from the prick of a needle when making clothing for a child or sewing a button on a husband’s burial shirt It comes of toil out of care out of the immense fatigue in the evening out of tear wiped away out of a prayer broken off in mid-word by sleep It’s not from the grand but from the tiny thing that it grows enormous as if Someone was building Eternity as a swallow its nest out of clumps of moments — Anna Kamienska


Friday, March 8

Beloved: A Meditation on Mark 1:9-13 Today a friend spoke about names—not only birth certificate names, but also the names that label us through childhood and beyond. Names our parents, relatives, friends and enemies give us. Names we give ourselves. Some names become foxtails—they burrow under our skin and are nearly impossible to dislodge, weakening our ability to accept our true names. They become part of us and threaten to ruin us unless we do the hard work of extraction. And it is hard—so hard—to let go of names like “fatty” or “teacher’s pet” or “wimp,” but what about names like “worthless,” “unlovable,” “failure”? When I read Mark 1:9-13 with the above filter in mind, it seems to me that the account is a naming ceremony. “You are my Son, the Beloved, with you I am well-pleased.” And immediately Jesus was driven out into the wilderness to be tempted. From a human perspective, Jesus should have had to earn the name “Beloved,” but that’s not how it works. Christ was named and then sent out in the power of His Father. So also, God names us—His Beloved—in all of our brokenness, and we wend our way through the world living out of the power of that naming. Easier said than done, you say? I agree wholeheartedly, which is why it’s good to be reminded of my true name. ** You name me. —Krista Vossler NOTES:

Saturday, March 9

The Power of Speech Lent is the time to control our speech. Our world is incredibly verbal and we are constantly flooded by words which have lost their meaning and therefore their power. Christianity reveals the sacredness of the word—a truly divine gift to man. For this reason our speech is endowed with tremendous power either positive or negative. For this reason also we shall be judged on our words: “But I say unto you, that every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof on the day of judgment. For by thy words thou shalt be justified, and by thy words thou shalt be condemned” (Matt. 12:36-37). To control speech is to recover its seriousness and its sacredness, to understand that sometimes an innocent “joke,” which we proffered without even thinking about it, can have disastrous results—can be that last “straw” which pushes a man into ultimate despair and destruction. But the word can also be a witness. A casual conversation across the desk with a colleague can do more for communicating a vision of life, an attitude toward other men or toward work, than formal preaching. It can sow the seeds of a question, of the possibility of a different approach to life, the desire to know more. We have no idea how, in fact, we constantly influence one another by our words, by the very “tonality” of our personality. And ultimately men are converted to God not because someone was able to give brilliant explanations, but because they saw in him that light, joy, depth, seriousness, and love which alone reveal the presence and the power of God in the world. —Fr. Alexander Schmemann, from Great Lent: Journey to Pascha NOTES:

WE E K F I V E March 11TH – March 16TH

Monday, March 11

Psalm 85:1-11 1 LORD, you were favorable to your land; you restored the fortunes of Jacob. 2 You forgave the iniquity of your people; you covered all their sin. Selah 3 You withdrew all your wrath; you turned from your hot anger. 4 Restore us again, O God of our salvation, and put away your indignation toward us! 5 Will you be angry with us forever? Will you prolong your anger to all generations? 6 Will you not revive us again, that your people may rejoice in you? 7 Show us your steadfast love, O LORD, and grant us your salvation. 8 Let me hear what God the LORD will speak, for he will speak peace to his people, to his saints; but let them not turn back to folly. 9 Surely his salvation is near to those who fear him, that glory may dwell in our land. 10 Steadfast love and faithfulness meet; righteousness and peace kiss each other. 11 Faithfulness springs up from the ground, and righteousness looks down from the sky.

O Almighty God, who alone canst order the unruly wills and affections of sinful men: Grant unto thy people that they may love the thing which thou commandest, and desire that which thou dost promise; that so, among the sundry and manifold changes of the world, our hearts may surely there be fixed where true joys are to be found; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen. —Book of Common Prayer NOTES:

Tuesday, March 12

More radical Christian faith can only mean committing oneself without reserve to the ‘crucified God’. This is dangerous. It does not promise the confirmation of one’s own conceptions, hopes, and good intentions. It promises first of all the pain of repentance and fundamental change. It offers no recipe for success. But it brings a confrontation with the truth. It is not positive and constructive, but it is in the first instance critical and destructive. It does not bring man into a better harmony with himself and his environment, but into contradiction with himself and his environment. It does not create a home for him and integrate him into society, but makes him ‘homeless’ and ‘rootless’, and liberates him in following Christ who was homeless and rootless. —Jürgen Moltmann, from The Crucified God

! “We travail. We are heavy laden. Refresh us, O homeless, jobless, possession-less Savior. You came naked, and naked you go. And so it is for us. So it is for all of us.” —Barbara Cawthorne Crafton NOTES:

O God, by the passion of thy blessed Son didst make an instrument of shameful death to be unto us the means of life: Grant us so to glory in the cross of Christ, that we may gladly suffer shame and loss for the sake of thy Son our Savior Jesus Christ; who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen. —Book of Common Prayer NOTES:

Wednesday, March 13

Contentment Heavenly Father, if I should suffer need, and go unclothed, and be in poverty, make my heart prize Thy love, know it, be constrained by it, though I be denied all blessings. It is Thy mercy to afflict and try me with wants, for by these trials I see my sins, and desire severance from them. Let me willingly accept misery, sorrows, temptations, if I can thereby feel sin as the greatest evil, and be delivered from it with gratitude to Thee, acknowledging this as the highest testimony of Thy love. When thy Son, Jesus, came into my soul instead of sin He became more dear to me than sin had formerly been; His kindly rule replaced sin’s tyranny. Teach me to believe that if ever I would have any sin subdued I must not only labour to overcome it, but must invite Christ to abide in the place of it, and He must become to me more than vile lust had been; that His sweetness, power, life may be there. Thus I must seek a grace from Him contrary to sin, but must not claim it apart from Himself. When I am afraid of evils to come, comfort me by showing me that in myself I am a dying, condemned wretch, but in Christ I am reconciled and live; that in myself I find insufficiency and no rest, but in Christ there is satisfaction and peace; that in myself I am feeble and unable to do good, but in Christ I have ability to do all things. Though now I have His graces in part, I shall shortly have them perfectly in that state where Thou wilt show Thyself fully reconciled, and alone sufficient, efficient, loving me completely, with sin abolished. O Lord, hasten that day. —Puritan Prayer

Thursday, March 14

Untitled Confused... I cried out. Confronted... I confessed. Captured... I knelt. Consumed... I loved. —Terri Fisher NOTES:

Friday, March 15

Psalm 130 1 Out of the depths I cry to you, O LORD! 2 O Lord, hear my voice! Let your ears be attentive to the voice of my pleas for mercy! 3 If you, O LORD, should mark iniquities, O Lord, who could stand? 4 But with you there is forgiveness, that you may be feared. 5 I wait for the LORD, my soul waits, and in his word I hope; 6 my soul waits for the Lord more than watchmen for the morning, more than watchmen for the morning. 7 O Israel, hope in the LORD! For with the LORD there is steadfast love, and with him is plentiful redemption. 8 And he will redeem Israel from all his iniquities. NOTES:

Saturday, March 16

Black Rook in Rainy Weather On the stiff twig up there Hunches a wet black rook Arranging and rearranging its feathers in the rainI do not expect a miracle Or an accident To set the sight on fire In my eye, nor seek Any more in the desultory weather some design, But let spotted leaves fall as they fall Without ceremony, or portent. Although, I admit, I desire, Occasionally, some backtalk From the mute sky, I can’t honestly complain: A certain minor light may still Lean incandescent Out of kitchen table or chair As if a celestial burning took Possession of the most obtuse objects now and then -Thus hallowing an interval Otherwise inconsequent By bestowing largesse, honor One might say love. At any rate, I now walk Wary (for it could happen Even in this dull, ruinous landscape); skeptical Yet politic, ignorant Of whatever angel any choose to flare Suddenly at my elbow. I only know that a rook Ordering its black feathers can so shine

As to seize my senses, haul My eyelids up, and grant

A brief respite from fear Of total neutrality. With luck, Trekking stubborn through this season Of fatigue, I shall Patch together a content Of sorts. Miracles occur. If you care to call those spasmodic Tricks of radiance Miracles. The wait’s begun again, The long wait for the angel, For that rare, random descent. —Sylvia Plath NOTES:

WE E K S I X March 18TH – March 23RD

Monday, March 18

O Lord, Give me to die with thee that I may rise to new life, for I wish to be as dead and buried to sin, to selfishness, to the world; that I might not hear the voice of the charmer, and might be delivered from his lusts. O Lord, there is much ill about me — crucify it, much flesh within me — mortify it. Purge me from selfishness, the fear of man, the love of approbation, the shame of being thought old-fashioned, the desire to be cultivated or modern. Let me reckon my old life dead because of crucifixion, and never feed it as a living thing. Grant me to stand with my dying Saviour, to be content to be rejected, to be willing to take up unpopular truths, and to hold fast despised teachings until death. Help me to be resolute and Christ-contained. Never let me wander from the path of obedience to thy will. —from a Puritan Prayer NOTES:

Tuesday, March 19

Primary Wonder Days pass when I forget the mystery. Problems insoluble and problems offering their own ignored solutions jostle for my attention, they crowd its antechamber along with a host of diversions, my courtiers, wearing their colored clothes; caps and bells. And then once more the quiet mystery is present to me, the throng’s clamor recedes: the mystery that there is anything, anything at all, let alone cosmos, joy, memory, everything, rather than void: and that, O Lord, Creator, Hallowed one, You still, hour by hour sustain it. —Denise Levertov NOTES:

Wednesday, March 20

A Timbered Choir: 1979, XII To long for what eternity fulfills Is to forsake the light one has, or wills To have, and go into the dark, to wait What light may come – no light, perhaps, the dark Insinuates. And yet the dark conceals All possibilities: thought, word, and light, Air, water, earth, motion, and song, the arc Of lives through light, eyesight, hope, rest and work— And death, the narrow gate each one must pass Alone, as some have gone past every guess Into the woods by a path lost to all Who look back, gone past light and sound of day Into grief’s wordless catalogue of loss. As the known life is given up, birdcall Become the only language of the way, The leaves all shine with sudden light, and stay. —Wendell Berry NOTES:

Thursday, March 21

When I Survey the Wondrous Cross


When I survey the wondrous cross On which the Prince of glory died, My richest gain I count but loss, And pour contempt on all my pride. Forbid it, Lord, that I should boast, Save in the death of Christ my God! All the vain things that charm me most, I sacrifice them to His blood. See from His head, His hands, His feet, Sorrow and love flow mingled down! Did e’er such love and sorrow meet, Or thorns compose so rich a crown? His dying crimson, like a robe, Spreads o’er His body on the tree; Then I am dead to all the globe, And all the globe is dead to me. Were the whole realm of nature mine, That were a present far too small; Love so amazing, so divine, Demands my soul, my life, my all. —Isaac Watts

! Almighty God, whose most dear Son went not up to joy but first he suffered pain, and entered not into glory before he was crucified: Mercifully grant that we, walking in the way of the cross, may find it none other than the way of life and peace; through the same thy Son Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen. —Book of Common Prayer

Friday, March 22

The Slip The river takes the land, and leaves nothing. Where the great slip gave way in the bank and an acre disappeared, all human plans dissolve. An awful clarification occurs where a place was. Its memory breaks from what is known now, begins to drift. Where cattle grazed and trees stood, emptiness widens the air for birdflight, wind, and rain. As before the beginning, nothing is there. Human wrong is in the cause, human ruin in the effect–but no matter; all will be lost, no matter the reason. Nothing, having arrived, will stay. The earth, even, is like a flower, so soon passeth it away. And yet this nothing is the seed of all–the clear eye of Heaven, where all the worlds appear. Where the imperfect has departed, the perfect begins its struggle to return. The good gift begins again its descent. The maker moves in the unmade, stirring the water until it clouds, dark beneath the surface, stirring and darkening the soul until pain perceives new possibility. There is nothing to do but learn and wait, return to work on what remains. Seed will sprout in the scar. Though death is in the healing, it will heal. —Wendell Berry


Saturday, March 23

O the Deep Deep Love of Jesus O the deep, deep love of Jesus, vast, unmeasured, boundless, free! Rolling as a mighty ocean in its fullness over me! Underneath me, all around me, is the current of Thy love Leading onward, leading homeward to Thy glorious rest above! O the deep, deep love of Jesus, spread His praise from shore to shore! How He loveth, ever loveth, changeth never, nevermore! How He watches o’er His loved ones, died to call them all His own; How for them He intercedeth, watcheth o’er them from the throne! O the deep, deep love of Jesus, love of every love the best! ’Tis an ocean full of blessing, ’tis a haven giving rest! O the deep, deep love of Jesus, ’tis a heaven of heavens to me; And it lifts me up to glory, for it lifts me up to Thee! —Samuel Francis

! It is amazing that a poor human creature is able to speak with God’s high majesty in heaven and not be afraid. When we pray, the heart and the conscience must not pull away from God because of our sins and our unworthiness, or stand in doubt or be scared away. When we pray we must hold fast and believe that God has heard our prayer. It was for this reason that the ancients defined prayer as an Ascensus mentis ad Deum, “a climbing up of the heart unto God.” —Martin Luther NOTES:

WE E K S E V E N March 25TH – March 30TH

Monday, March 25

Gracious God, the comfort of all who sorrow, the strength of all who suffer: Let the cry of those in misery and need come to you, that they may find your mercy present with them in all their afflictions; and give us, we pray, the strength to serve them for the sake of him who suffered for us, your Son Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen. —Book of Common Prayer

! Christ suffers until the end of the world. —Blaise Pascal NOTES:

Tuesday, March 26

O Sacred Head O sacred Head, now wounded, with grief and shame weighed down, Now scornfully surrounded with thorns, Thine only crown; O sacred Head, what glory, what bliss till now was Thine! Yet, though despised and gory, I joy to call Thee mine. What Thou, my Lord, hast suffered, was all for sinners’ gain; Mine, mine was the transgression, but Thine the deadly pain. Lo, here I fall, my Savior! ’Tis I deserve Thy place; Look on me with Thy favor, vouchsafe to me Thy grace. What language shall I borrow to thank Thee, dearest friend, For this Thy dying sorrow, Thy pity without end? O make me Thine forever, and should I fainting be, Lord, let me never, never outlive my love to Thee. The joy can never be spoken, above all joys beside, When in Thy body broken I thus with safety hide. O Lord of Life, desiring Thy glory now to see, Beside Thy cross expiring, I’d breathe my soul to Thee. My Savior, be Thou near me when death is at my door; Then let Thy presence cheer me, forsake me nevermore! When soul and body languish, oh, leave me not alone, But take away mine anguish by virtue of Thine own! —Attributed to Bernard of Clairvaux NOTES:

Wednesday, March 27

“It is written, “Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God.” No; but the Lord thy God may tempt Himself; and it seems as if this was what happened in Gethsemane. In a garden Satan tempted man: and in a garden God tempted God. He passed in some superhuman manner through our human horror of pessimism. When the world shook and the sun was wiped out of heaven, it was not at the crucifixion, but at the cry from the cross: the cry which confessed that God was forsaken of God. And now let the revolutionists choose a creed from all the creeds and a god from all the gods of the world, carefully weighing all the gods of inevitable recurrence and of unalterable power. They will not find another god who has himself been in revolt. Nay, (the matter grows too difficult for human speech,) but let the atheists themselves choose a god. They will find only one divinity who ever uttered their isolation; only one religion in which God seemed for an instant to be an atheist.” —G.K. Chesterton, from Orthodoxy NOTES:

Thursday, March 28

A Timbered Choir: 1980, I What hard travail God does in death! He strives in sleep, our despair, And all flesh shudders underneath The nightmare of his sepulcher. The earth shakes, grinding its deep stone; All night the cold wind heaves and pries; Creation straining sinew and bone Against the dark door where he lies. The sky bent, pent in seed, grows straight And stands. Pain breaks in song. Surprising The merely dead, graves fill with light Like opened eyes. He rests in rising. —Wendell Berry NOTES:

Friday, March 29

O God of unchangeable power and eternal light: Look favorably on your whole Church, that wonderful and sacred mystery; by the effectual working of your providence, carry out in tranquility the plan of salvation; let the whole world see and know that things which were cast down are being raised up, and things which had grown old are being made new, and that all things are being brought to their perfection by him through whom all things were made, your Son Jesus Christ our Lord; who lives and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen. —Book of Common Prayer NOTES:

Saturday, March 30

This is the time of tension between dying and birth. —T.S. Eliot, from Ash Wednesday

! O God, Creator of heaven and earth: Grant that, as the crucified body of your dear Son was laid in the tomb and rested on this holy Sabbath, so we may await with him the coming of the third day, and rise with him to newness of life; who now lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen. —Book of Common Prayer NOTES:

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Lenten Daily Devotional 2013  

Devotional with Quotes

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