2nd Lenten Weekly Challenge

27 02 2007

February 25th – March 3rd – First Week of Lent

 

Journey into the Brokenness of Our Inner Selves

At the heart of the biblical story is not the sinfulness of humankind but the love and forgiveness of God. As we journey toward the cross we are not meant to wallow in our sin even though we desperately need to acknowledge it and seek repentance and forgiveness. The reason we focus on our brokenness and need for repentance is so that we can be healed and enabled to become all that God intends us to be.

During this first week of Lent as we walk with Jesus towards the Cross we are reminded that to follow him we must be willing to enter into the fullness of the Easter story. We don’t just follow a resurrected Christ who through the sacrifice of his life poured out the love of God so that we might find the wonder of eternal life. We also follow a crucified Christ who willingly entered the pain and suffering of our world and became one of us. What we often forget as we read the Easter story is that Christ’s sacrifice was not just so that we might be set free from our own sin and brokenness. Christ lived and died as an example of how we too should live.

Our walk with Jesus to the cross begins with an invitation to lay down all the inner burdens of self-centeredness, indifference and greed that distract us from a wholehearted commitment to God. It is to the cross we come for forgiveness, reconciliation and restoration. Only then can we experience the full joy of Easter morning and be resurrected into the new life that God intends for us, – a life in which all that we do and all that we commit our time and our resources to is truly governed by our love for God and our love for neighbours around the world.

Scripture – Psalm 51: 10 – 16

10 Create in me a pure heart, O God,
and renew a steadfast spirit within me.
11 Do not cast me from your presence
or take your Holy Spirit from me.
12 Restore to me the joy of your salvation
and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me.
13 Then I will teach transgressors your ways,
and sinners will turn back to you.
14 Deliver me from bloodguilt, O God,
you who are God my Savior,
and my tongue will sing of your righteousness.
15 Open my lips, Lord,
and my mouth will declare your praise.
16 You do not delight in sacrifice, or I would bring it;
you do not take pleasure in burnt offerings.
17 My sacrifice, O God, is a broken spirit;
a broken and contrite heart
you, God, will not despise.

Accept the Challenge

“Create in me a clean heart O God and renew a right spirit within me.” (Ps 51:10)

Read Ps 51 in unison together and then spend time in silence meditating on its implications for your life
Get each person to look into a mirror and using a felt tip marker or soap, write or draw onto your reflection words and symbols that represent your anxieties and fears. When you are ready spray glass cleaner onto the mirror and wipe it clean.
Pray together for God’s cleansing in your hearts

Reflect on those things in your life that focus you on yourself rather than on God. Discuss the following questions:
What is one thing you struggle with that distracts you from a whole hearted commitment to Christ? Write down your areas of struggle on a piece of paper.
How could you use this first week of Lent to initiate a new spiritual discipline that would bring reconciliation and healing in your place of struggle? Some possibilities you might like to consider are:
Free up an extra fifteen minutes each day to pray and read the scripture
Memorize one new scripture verse each day
Take time each day to read a chapter from a book on spiritual disciplines such as Richard Foster’s Celebration of Discipline
What is one way that you could help each other maintain this discipline?

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