Lent’s days are winding down, Merciful God,

and we are no closer to having contrite hearts.

Our small complains still loom large,

and we don’t hurry to show mercy, or rush to be kind.

The old habits of Fat Tuesday are still alluring,

and we resist the emptiness of the desert that reveals you.

The places where you make yourself known to us,

where you wait in the quiet for us to be ready, still feel alien.

Yet, Loving God, we come to you, trying to lose our lives for the life you offer,

seeking the wisdom of our brother Jesus,

hoping to be blown open by the Spirit.

Bring us fully into your Lenten gifts, we pray,

and accept the Lenten gifts we offer to you.  Amen.

3 thoughts on “Wednesday Prayer

  1. Mary, we met once, when I preached for a search committee one January in suburban Detroit when the sun was shining but the snow was on the ground. You are a wonderful writer and deeply spiritual person. But I halted when I got to the line of this prayer, “We resist the emptiness of the desert that reveals you.” I am having a hard time with this going to the desert business during Lent this year…and for many years, since the year after Katrina, which was one long desert in the years of recovery. Life throws us many deserts. We don’t have to create an artificial one and call it “Lent.” And then suddenly it’s Easter and oh joy! Our Lents do not necessarily end at Easter, just as the bad stuff of the old year doesn’t miraculously end when the calendar turns over to New Year. I think of a colleague who just had surgery to try to figure out why she has lost her voice since developing a persistent case of bronchitis three months ago. Just because Easter is coming doesn’t mean her voice will suddenly return. So I resist Lent. Have been resisting it for twelve years now, since that post-Katrina year. This is not a criticism of your prayer, which is wonderful…it’s more my personal struggle with the whole concept of a season in the church year we call “Lent.” Lent happens to us when the spirit wills. And when those Easter moments come… take them as a gift, no matter what season they come in.

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  2. Hi Kathy — right you are. I think that’s the reason I love Lent, in my middle years — it’s the church season that matches so much of life. There’s always a season of grief, upheaval, illness, loss…a friend of mine says we shouldn’t see the desert as empty, but as the place where God shows up…I can’t quite get there yet, but I find her image hopeful.

    Blessings to you in everything that comes your way!

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    1. I like to say that God tends to show up at the beach…but then, I’ve been to more beaches than deserts. To be literal about it, only one desert, many beaches. Not all those beach experiences have been Easter ones. Some have been Lenten. One toward the end of my first year in seminary, in fact, as I grieved the loss of five loved ones in less than a year.

      As a pastor I’ve walked with many parishioners through their deserts, and I’ve been through my fair share of my own. So yes, Lent shows up when the spirit blows it into our lives. Thank God the spirit blows in Easter too.

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