A PERSONAL PRAYER
This morning, I stepped out of the shower and looked in the mirror. The bright lights revealed who I really am. It wasn’t pretty. So I put on my clothes and hoped it would cover up the truth.
This afternoon, God, I studied my scripture, and I saw in there a reflection of who I really am. It wasn’t pretty. Most of the time, I put on my smile and positive attitude and go out and just do my best. But God, that isn’t what this Lenten season is about. Lent is about seeing the truth, not hiding from it, or covering it up with confidence or countenance. Lent is about recognizing more than anything else my need for your grace.
So I confess, God. I have betrayed you like Judas. I have denied you like Simon Peter. I have sought glory and prestige like James and John. I have been selfish and self-absorbed, worried about my image, living out of my own strengths rather than relaxing in yours. I have struggled with my fear rather than trust the perfect love that will cast out all fear. And you know the specifics, God; I won’t recount them here. I can see them all now, clear as day in the mirror of your Scripture. And I am so sorry.
I need your grace, God. When I look in the mirror of Scripture, I also see who I can be, who you make me to be, and I see how much you love me. But I know that I cannot, by my own strength of will, replace my self-absorption with compassion, my selfishness with generosity, my fear with love, my own weakness with your strength. These only come by your grace. Hear my penitence, and continue to reveal to me my sin, that I may know your forgiveness. I long for the resurrection you have promised will come.
In the name of Jesus, the crucified one, I pray. Amen.
SOME THOUGHTS TO SHARE
We are so honored this Sunday to have Dr. Jaime Clark-Soles preach for us. She is the Professor of New Testament and the Altshuler Distinguished Teaching Professor at Perkins School of Theology at Southern Methodist University and is a known scholar in the gospel of John. An ordained pastor in the American Baptist church, she is the professor that every student wants to have for New Testament when they go to Perkins. She cracks the Scripture open and makes it come to life. Additionally, this Sunday is the first Sunday in Lent, so we will join together in the Sacrament of Holy Communion in all of our worship services.
You can still join our sermon series and Scripture+Shared Bible study for Lent, 2019. What would you say to the people you love most if you knew you had but days to live? How would you sum up what you hope your life has taught them? The study and series title is “The Book of Glory,” which is what the second half of the Gospel of John is often called. It includes Jesus’ “farewell discourse,” his parting gift to his disciples. We have recorded eight video lessons in which Dr. Jaime Clark-Soles has conversations with me and some of our other pastors about these powerful chapters of Scripture, which lead up to the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus. Now is the time to download the app, sign up for a Scripture+Shared study group or reach out to a friend to study these verses together. In addition to the video lessons, I will be preaching on these chapters, and there are daily readings to help you in your personal devotional time during Lent. To register, visit https://my.stlukesmethodist.org/lift-group-finder, or visit the Connection Center after the worship service.
During the season of Lent, we have a prayer service every Wednesday night at 7:00 pm in the Chapel with a variety of prayer experiences throughout the season. We also have music for meditation and reflection at 12:05 every Thursday. See the details for all our Lenten possible experiences here.
Also, You can still pick up the experiential Lenten calendar called Daily Acts of Grace and Mercy, and just jump right in this Sunday. You can get one in the Gathering Room on Sunday morning, or download as a pdf here.
Sunday, March 10
Heavenly Father, I thank you for unexpected blessings and protection which help me grow in my faith. When I have hard times dealing with depression, disappointments, and struggles, let me know that you are always there to guide me. Fill me with your Holy Spirit to be ready to respond and share my faith with others. Strengthen my awareness of the needs of members in my small group and lead me daily to be a servant of Christ to my family. Thank you, Jesus. Amen.
Monday, March 11
Dear Lord, Thank you for this beautiful day. Thank you for the blessings that St. Luke’s brings to our lives. Thank you that we can come to you not only with our problems and requests but also our praise. Please be with us and help us to remember all the things for which we should be grateful. In your son’s name, we pray. Amen.
Tuesday, March 12
Dear Lord, my life is blessed, and I’m grateful for so many things, especially my LIFT group. I love the friendships I have made and the fellowship we share. I love how we support each other in victory and despair. Thank you, God for putting these people in my life as we learn how to love You. Amen. -Prayer by Liz Fisher, Genesis Sunday School Class
Wednesday, March 13
Heavenly Father, we pray that you would renew our strength and spiritual fervor. Create in us a clean mind, a pure heart and a sincere faith. Set our hearts on fire for you again. Amen.
Thursday, March 14
Dear God, you know what is heavy on my heart and hurting me. Please take care of my most fervent prayer today and ease my burden. Move my mountains and grant me peace. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
Friday, March 15
Dear Lord, I am deeply grateful for all the many blessings you have bestowed on me. I am particularly thankful for the great cloud of witnesses, all the saints who have so touched my life and continue to surround and bless me, my family and friends, pastors and teachers and others whose names I may not even know. Today, I commit anew to be such a witness and to be your instrument for blessing others, whenever and wherever I can. Amen. -Prayer by Warren Fisher, Genesis Sunday School Class
Saturday, March 16
Dear God, I surrender my heart to you. Please take my heart and remove the callous. Fix the brokenness of my heart and fill it with your love. Remove the things that bind my heart, and let my heart beat strong for you. Amen.