Lenten Meditations

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Lenten Meditation: Choosing Being Free over Being Right

by Susan Russell

I’ve loved reading Anne Lamott since I discovered “Bird by Bird” – her “instructions on writing and life” – in 1996. Over the years I’ve found her to be inspiring and insightful, honest and hysterical, challenging and clarifying — all wrapped up in the both/and of a deep and questioning faith.

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Lenten Meditations: Retreat!

by Janine Schenone

I have just returned from directing a 3-day retreat with our 20/30s group, “Nature and the Divine.” Friday evening started with gathering to eat at La Super Rica Taqueria in Santa Barbara (“Julia Child’s favorite Mexican food”), and then we came back to the big room of our house at Casa de Maria.

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Lenten Meditation: Choosing health

by Jenny Tisi

Matthew 11:19 “The Son of Man came eating and drinking, and they say, ‘Here is a glutton and a drunkard….’

When I saw this quote from the Bible in another Lenten Meditation book, I remembered a story from 8 years ago. A dear friend and fellow children’s choir director said to me “Won’t it be great when you can walk in to conduct a room full of kids for a festival and you can instantly win them over with the way you look, instead of with your personality and skills?” I knew what she was saying. First impressions are real. It hit me hard. I was approaching 300 pounds and I needed to get a grip.

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Lenten Meditation: In the Lap of a Mothering God

by Anne Peterson

March 6 was my mother’s birthday. She died June 6, 1973, at age 67. I was 26, and expecting my first child. Three years later my second daughter was born on March 6. Tess has my mother’s syrup brown eyes and her sensuous physicality. When she hugs you, you feel enveloped in love.

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Lenten Meditation: We Will Be Caught if We Fall

by Susan Russell

Joan Chittister has been an inspiration to me since her book “Wisdom Distilled from the Daily” found its way under my Christmas tree in 1991. The subtitle is “Living the Rule of St. Benedict Today” – which I have to confess sounded like a great big snore to me. At first.

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Lenten Meditation: My Guilty Pleasure

by Jenny Tisi

One of my most favorite things about where I live is how close I am to the Saturday morning Pasadena Farmer’s Market.  Since I am trying to lead a more relaxing, healthier, and mindful lifestyle, I decided that I would walk, which is only about a mile away.  I am not a meditative person at all.  I find it nearly impossible to just sit, breathe and be.  A therapist once told me that the act of meditating is meditating.  I’ve always tried to think about that.  So on my walk today, instead of putting in ear buds, I listened.

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Lenten Meditation: Choosing a Journey through Lent over a Commute to Easter

by Susan Russell

Last year my Facebook status on Ash Wednesday read: “Wishing you a journey through Lent instead of a commute to Easter.” It got 133 comments – which I took as a sign that I was not alone in finding that a challenge.

You can’t live in Southern California and not know what it feels like to travel a familiar road without really “journeying.” When I was a new deacon I served up at St. Mark’s in Altadena — and I lived in Huntington Beach. I remember how easy it was to suddenly look up and realize I was in Duarte … and wonder what happened to Whittier. That’s not a journey: that’s a commute.

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Lenten Meditation: Give Me Your Hand

by James Walker

God speaks to each of us as he makes us,
then walks with us silently out of the night.

These are words we dimly hear:

You, sent out beyond your recall,
go to the limits of your longing.

Embody me.

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Lenten Meditation: A Beautiful Struggle

by Francisco Garcia

Mark 1:9-15
In those days Jesus came from Nazareth of Galilee and was baptized by John in the Jordan. And just as he was coming up out of the water, he saw the heavens torn apart and the Spirit descending like a dove on him. And a voice came from heaven, “You are my Son, the Beloved; with you I am well pleased.” And the Spirit immediately drove him out into the wilderness. He was in the wilderness forty days, tempted by Satan; and he was with the wild beasts, and the angels waited on him. Now after John was arrested, Jesus came to Galilee, proclaiming the good news of God, and saying, “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God has come near; repent, and believe in the good news.”

This year in Lent we reflect on the gospel of Mark’s version of Jesus’ journey into the wilderness, where he is “tempted by Satan.” Here in the wilderness, Jesus spends a good amount of time in a psycho-spiritual and physical struggle of self, to affirm or deny his identity and his call to proclaim in radical ways the love and justice of God in the world. However, the dominant Christian narrative and expectation of Lent has become something of a penitential downer. Our litanies can make us feel downright awful, self-loathing even. I’m not so sure that this is what Jesus or even the writers of the gospels intended to have happen.

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Lenten Meditation: Talking to Jesus at Night

by Janine Schenone

We rarely get glimpses of Jesus at night in the Bible. The two that come to mind are Jesus’ night in Gethsemane before his arrest, and also his late-night discussion with Nicodemus. This conversation with Nicodemus is depicted in the Gospel of John (2:23-3:15), which is the Daily Office reading for today.

This scene between Nicodemus and Jesus is so touching to me. Here is Nicodemus, a leader of the Jews, coming in secret, or so it seems, which is why he comes to see Jesus “by night.” He wants to know Jesus, to understand Jesus, but he’s afraid to show his fellow Pharisees that he’s intrigued by this Jesus guy.

It’s also touching to me because conversations in the dark, these late-night talks, have a totally different tone and mood. Think of the conversations that happen in the dark. That’s when lovers talk about their truest selves. It’s when children tell their parents about the disastrous day at school, when teenagers plot their escapes, when anything that we fear or wonder about comes knocking at the door of our psyche, asking to speak. It can be the most intimate and true time. We are somehow stripped bare of pretenses and paltry matters.

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