Lenten Discipline

March 16, 2001

Joel 2:12-13a – "Yet even now," says the Lord, "return to me with all your heart, with fasting, with weeping, and with mourning; rend your hearts and not your clothing." (NRSV)

    Lent …
    time of hungering for God
    for coming closer
    to my Creator,
    time of following special disciplines
    to clear my mind and heart
    so there is room for God
    to enter in.

    Growing up I knew of fasting …
    a good way to approach God in Lent.
    For many 'twas a joke, however …
    just give up something, anything
    it doesn't matter what …
    not eating candy during Lent
    will do just fine!
    Was that good enough for God?

    Now, I know it wasn't
    but at the time
    I did only what friends did …
    not giving up anything
    of great importance …
    no real self-denial …
    living with the letter of the law
    but not its inner spirit.

    Today's another matter,
    searching as I do for new ways,
    new disciplines expanding inner awareness …
    stripping away distractions,
    so hungry for you, Lord,
    craving the only food
    that satisfies my inner yearning,
    making whole my soul.

    I've discovered
    other ways of fasting
    not just the one of food.
    My soul fasts submerged
    in the stillness of prayer,
    when sharing in the pain of others,
    while reaching out to help another,
    or bravely crying out for truth and justice.

    So many ways, God …
    the more I think and pray about it
    the more paths I see to you.
    Fasting at its heart, I've discovered
    is turning away from all
    that keeps me from you, God,
    as ever searching I edge closer
    to be at one with you.

Prayer: Holy One, desire of our souls, during this very special time of Lent, we pray that you will guide us as we search for you in whatever way that we choose, whether it is by fasting, rending our hearts or coming to you in more deliberate prayer time. If it is fasting, help us to find what best to give up that will be most pleasing to you. If it is through prayer, may our ardent prayers come from our heart and may we listen more carefully to you in the stillness. If it is through rending our hearts, may we be transformed so that we will be new people hearing afresh what you would have us do. We are aching, God, to find you at the centre of our being. We long to know your indwelling presence. We yearn to discover an ongoing, ever-stronger, growing relationship with you, our Creator and beloved Shepherd. In Christ's name we pray. Amen.

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Patricia Glore

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