Lent 2021 is here! Lent is a season in the Christian year lasting for forty days, not counting Sundays, which begins on Ash Wednesday and ends on Holy Saturday, the day before Easter. It is a season of preparation that inspires and informs the celebration of Easter. Pastor John has called us to journey this Lenten season with our minds and hearts seeking to “see the real Jesus” as revealed in scripture. Wow, that is quite an undertaking! Fasting, self-examination, confession and penance, meditation, the Gospel stories in scripture, and prayer are all tools that will help us in our journey to see the real Jesus.
I will be reflecting and sharing my thoughts and experiences as I prepare my heart for a full experience of Easter joy…
Now, where to begin?
To see the really Jesus, you must understand that Jesus was grounded in a vital relationship with the Father. The Gospel story makes it clear that Jesus knew the Father through the scriptures and through His constant contact in prayer. He prayed early in the morning; He went up to the mountains to communicate with the Father; His prayer life was so unique, so powerful, that His disciples wanted to follow His example. They asked Him to teach them how to pray! The real Jesus was a man of prayer…. He taught them to pray saying, “Our Father who is in heaven…” (Matthew 6:9). For Jesus, prayer was the relational vehicle for life with the Father.
Jesus taught them to examine themselves, to listen to the Father, to seek His presence in the Lord’s Prayer. So, let us begin and continue our Lenten journey in the patter that Jesus taught, not just reciting words, but really communing with the Father.
I invite you to join me in daily praying the Lord’s Prayer. I plan to use it as my prayer of self-examination, speaking and listening to the Father each day. I am going to use the paraphrased rendition of the Lord’s Prayer written by St. Francis of Assisi. Will you walk with me?
Paraphrase of The Lord’s Prayer by St. Francis of Assisi:
our Creator and Redeemer,
our Saviour and our Comforter.
WHO ART IN HEAVEN
in the angels and the saints,
giving the light to know you,
since you, Lord, are light;
setting them afire to love you,
since you, Lord, are love;
dwelling in them
and giving them fullness of joy,
since you, Lord,
are the supreme, eternal good,
and all good comes from you.
HALLOWED BE THY NAME,
may we grow to know you better and better
and so appreciate the extent of your favors,
the scope of your promises,
the sublimity of your majesty,
and the profundity of your judgements.
THY KINGDOM COME,
so that you may reign in us by your grace,
and bring us to your kingdom,
where we shall see you clearly,
love you perfectly and,
happy in your company, enjoy you forever.
THY WILL BE DONE ON EARTH AS IT IS IN HEAVEN,
so that we may love you with all our heart,
be always having you in mind;
with all our soul
by always longing for you;
with all our mind,
by determining to seek your glory in everything;
and with all our strength,
of body and soul,
by lovingly serving you alone.
May we love our neighbors as ourselves,
and encourage them all to love you,
by bearing our share
in the joys and sorrows of others,
while giving offence to no one.
GIVE US THIS DAY OUR DAILY BREAD,
your beloved Son, our Lord Jesus Christ,
so that we may remember and appreciate
how much He loved us,
and everything he said and did and suffered.
AND FORGIVE US OUR TRESPASSES,
in your immeasurable mercy,
by virtue of the passion of your Son.
AS WE FORGIVE THOSE WHO TRESPASS AGAINST US,
and if we do not forgive perfectly,
Lord, make us forgive perfectly,
so that, for love of you,
we may really forgive our enemies,
and fervently pray to you for them,
returning no one evil for evil,
but trying to serve you in everyone.
AND LEAD US NOT INTO TEMPTATION,
be it hidden or obvious,
sudden or persistent.
BUT DELIVER US FROM EVIL,
past, present or future,
FOR THINE IS THE KINGDOM AND THE GLORY FOREVER AND EVER.