AN INVITATION TO A LENTEN JOURNEY:
Welcome aboard the 2019 Lenten Journey. If this is your first “walk to the cross,” get ready for the challenge to walk on sandy, dusty roads, to leap two thousand years back in history to another era in time, and to seek new insights and answers to what really happened in Palestine about 33 AD. If you’ve “walked the walk” before, may you be challenged anew to recall and reflect on the words and actions of Jesus, the disciples and many others.
Lent falls between Ash Wednesday and Easter. For most of the Christian “world” the focus is on the climax, Resurrection Sunday, which we call Easter. Not many around the world will pause to read and reflect for forty-five days before celebrating Easter Sunday. As you know, some faiths encourage you to “give up” something in Lent. If you follow this year’s Lenten Journey, you will have decided to “give up” some time you’d have used to do other things. As you read, reflect, and pray about the daily readings, perhaps you will discover you haven’t “given up” anything – instead, you will have “gained new perceptions and/or understandings of Jesus, God, and the human race.
Each day there is a verse or two of Scripture, and a one-page “thought” on which to ponder or react. There is a short prayer if you choose to use it, and most days there are questions for reflection. At the end of the readings you will find the Scripture verses for each day, taken from The Message, by Eugene Peterson. I am indebted to Dr. Lee Spitzer, who in the midst of a new and challenging position as General Secretary of the American Baptist Churches, USA, and joined by his wife, Lois, continue to be partners in this Lenten Journey. Besides the new position, Dr. Spitzer underwent major surgery from which he has recovered nicely. He worked on these devotions during his later recovery period. Please include them in your daily prayers.
World events increasingly cause fear and consternation among world populations that there ever was, or now is a living, caring, loving God, One who would come under any guise to walk our dusty roads, or travel our busy highways. It is my hope that you will find strength and confidence for your daily journey as you ponder Scripture, stories, history and people.
You probably won’t agree with everything that’s written herein – that’s not a problem at all. We are friends of Jesus, travelling together! If you don’t like some of the suggestions, conclusions or questions, then skip them! Perhaps you’ll miss a day or two, here and there – that’s OK, too. Each day’s journey stands pretty much by itself, and can be missed, or picked up at a later date. We will meet good and evil people, consider wisdom from “above,” ponder the humanity and divinity of Jesus, shudder at the suffering and brutality he endured, confront the “why” questions again and again, pray daily, and even more. God loves us ---- and God came!!!!!