Lent is a time when we usually give up something to concentrate on getting to know Jesus and to improve our relationship with God. So this Lent give up some time to get to know Jesus better. You might like to keep a journal about what you discover about Jesus as you follow him. Also note down what happens to you as you discover more about him.
You might like to explore different ways to record your discoveries: read/write poetry; sing – find hymns that help you to express yourself; draw/paint pictures of the places you ‘travel to’; dance to express joy or sorrow at what you discover; sit and listen to music as you meditate. Be creative in your responses in whatever way suits you.
A prayer you might like to use during Lent:
“Lord, you call us to follow you and our footsteps falter;
“You hold out your hand and we treat you as a stranger;
“You whisper our name and we simply ignore you.
“Gracious Lord, slow to anger, swift to bless, forgive us, restore us.
“Grant us hearts that stand firm, a faith that is strong and a hope that endures that we might become willing servants of our Heavenly King,
and your glory and praise may be the song that we sing. Amen.”
The leaflet isn’t set out in weeks, just do as much as you like when you like.
Jesus said: Come, Follow me…..
- · Start with the Nativity Story. Who came to visit? Why?
- · Now follow him to the temple for his presentation. What words were spoken? How do you think they were received?
- · Follow him when they fled into Egypt… think about people who are refugees today.
- · Move on a few years and follow him to the temple at 12 years old. What did he say to his mother? Do you think she understood what he meant?
- · Follow him when he was called by the Spirit into the wilderness. Have you had a wilderness encounter? What resulted from it?
- · Now follow him to his baptism. What were the words that God spoke? Note them down and ponder on them.
We now follow him into his ministry. He prayed; he taught; he told parables; he healed people both physically and spiritually; he challenged; he went among people; he performed miracles; he spoke about God; he helped people to renew their relationship with God; he fed people both physically and spiritually; he met people where they were, both physically and spiritually. Find these stories in the Bible and pick a few to read in depth and spend time meditating on them. Think about how they are important today, in today’s world.
Some readings which have made me pause and think about:
Luke 4: 14 – 21: in this reading Jesus reads from the scroll of the prophet Isaiah and declares that….Today this scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing. What do you make of this statement of Jesus’s. I wonder if his listeners were puzzled as to his meaning. I sometimes wonder what people who have little or no knowledge of the Bible make of it? How can we help people to understand its message of salvation?
Healing: during his ministry here on earth Jesus healed many people both physically and spiritually.
St. Mark’s Gospel 10: 46 – 52 has this story:
Jesus healed someone who was blind and was a beggar.
Jesus said these words to him: “What do you want me to do for you?” Jesus says these words to you today: what can he do for you today?
Healing is a very wide issue. What do we mean by healing? What does it mean to you to be whole?
Jesus said to the man ‘Your faith has made you well.’ Was this a physical healing or a spiritual healing?
It could have been both. All we know was that he was made well.
When we are feeling unwell, in any way, we can become more resilient to deal with whatever is troubling us…making us ‘unwell’.
We can be nourished through our faith in God and this can help us to deal with whatever the future holds for us.
In St. Mark: 13: 1 – 8 Jesus is warning his followers to ‘test’ the truth. We need to take care who we listen to when we are seeking guidance: look at the verses that start at verse 5:
“Then Jesus began to say to them….”
Now think about this: Who do you follow, where do you find the truth? What is the truth …. all very hard questions to answer but we need to consider them before we blindly follow someone who is claiming that they can lead you to the truth. The best place to seek the truth is the Bible.
Jesus taught his disciples/followers about God’s kingdom In Jesus’ time.
Kings were absolute rulers – they could do whatever they wanted to. They were answerable to no one. Jesus’/God’s kingdom is not of this world. It is for this world. It is spiritual/heavenly but Jesus’ prayer says ‘heaven on earth’…. What does this mean?
We are part of God’s kingdom. What are the priorities of God’s kingdom? Love and peace are two, what are some of the other priorities? What is your part in bringing God’s kingdom on earth?
Read the passage where Jesus teaches his disciples about prayer. St. Matthew 6: 5 – 15.
Perhaps you can paraphrase this prayer to fit what it means for you.
I am sure you can find other readings which challenge you in your thinking and draw you to a deeper and closer knowledge of Jesus. During Holy Week follow him to the Cross. Read one of the gospel accounts. Take your time and imagine that your there with him. Listen to what he says to the people around him during his journey to the Cross. Do they resonate with you in today’s world?