February 26th, 2023
Welcome to the Sunday Devotion. Today is the first Sunday of Lent and I invite you to turn off the sounds around you to allow for prayerful reflection of the journey ahead. Take a deep cleansing breath. Do you hear the silence? Perhaps you need to move to a quieter place, far away from the noise and chaos of the day. It may be tempting to put this off because it seems there is just too much to do. Or perhaps you think you can fade out the sounds around you. But I encourage you to allow yourself to slip away to a place where you can find silence. What place might that be for you?
As we enter the Lenten season, I recall how Jesus drew away from the crowds and entered the wilderness. He sought out the silence of his journey which would ultimately lead the cross. He valued his time where he could focus on God and the struggles and temptations of life. My goal during Lent is to also find silence where I can focus on God and listen to the voice of the Holy Spirit.
Many times, I have a problem with silence. Do you? In the silence, my brain gets distracted by what happened during my day, or past situations that caused me anguish. My mind often finds no silence because my worries and concerns, or just the day to day agenda, although not spoken aloud, are loud nonetheless, and intrude the silence.
I would love to offer a quick and easy remedy to this, but I don’t really have one. That’s because it takes practice. If you want to be a great chef, you have to practice the skills that are needed. You have to practice if you want to play an instrument, drive a car, paint a picture, etc. What particular skill have you had to practice?
I remember learning to play a flute. I could barely make a sound at first. At times it seemed hopeless that I could get better. But my music teacher made me account for my practice time and I had to write down the amount of time I practiced each day.
While reflecting on my experience when learning to play my flute, I remember my Practice Card which documented the times I practiced each day, and I was inspired to grab a pen and paper (actually I opened an app on my phone) and began to document my “practice time” where I sought moments of silence to spend time with God. On the first day it was a five-minute struggle that had very little silence. I hesitantly wrote down “5 minutes”. As I struggled to begin my “practice time” I rediscovered a hymn in our Community of Christ Sings hymnal titled “Listen in the Silence”. It is a beautiful, peaceful way to tame my mind so I can practice my time of silence. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZO-GLmShiVE
I invite you to join me in engaging in silence. Take another deep cleansing breath and join me in prayer.
You are my power and you are my strength. You walk with me in the chaos. You walk with me as I quickly step through my day, often rushing to accomplish one more thing. Help me to stop and find the silence where you wait for me. Help me listen for your voice and find the precious silence to dedicated to You. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen
(Author: Bonnie Barber)
Welcome to the Sunday Devotion. In my daily life I sometimes get too involved in busyness. But as I sit at my computer, as I am doing now, and I start gathering my thoughts in preparation for writing a devotion, I find that this quiet tap-tap-tapping brings my thoughts into focus, pushes away the distractions and starts to arrange my thoughts into some order. My thoughts become words and my words becomes sentences. The theme for this week’s worship is “Tend the Light” and that is what metaphorically and spiritually is happening. For me, I am tending the Light of God as it touches me. I am shaping the light, focusing on it, letting it push away the chaos of my busyness.
As we approach Lent, I hope we all can find ways to push away the darkness of distractions and focus on the Light of God. We must tend to this light as we would a newly started campfire. Nurse it into flickering flames, add more fuel, watch it grow. Then enjoy the light as it grows bigger and brightens more space around us.
That is what happens as we spread God’s love. May we sit in this realm of growing light and enjoy the warmth. God’s love is warm and welcoming, and we rejoice that we have Jesus, God’s son, to be a light unto our world.
Dear God, the Light of Love,
We come in thankfulness of your amazing love and greatness. Help us to push away the distractions and replace them with renewed focus on the gift of your son, Jesus Christ. Quiet our minds. Help us to breathe in your spirit. Help us envision the light you cast in the darkness, pushing away the shadows. Open us to allowing your light to fill us. May we tend and nurture your light, making us a light beam of your love. In Jesus’ name we pray, Amen.
Welcome to the Sunday Devotion. As we experience days of growing warmth, I feel the changing of the seasons and anticipate the newness of spring. That is what we have been experiencing in 2023 as the new year makes us pause and reflect on new ways ahead, new possibilities, new growth for ourselves. Is there new growth in our spiritual journey? Imagine us as a garden. What seeds have been planted? How fertile is our ground? Can we feel the warmth of God’s love? Are we getting abundant rays of the “Son”?
I love the metaphor of us being a garden. We at times may feel dormant, but the new months of 2023 have allowed us time to become more fertile, for weeds to die out, for the “ground “ to be prepared for spring. Today, let’s concentrate on that preparation. Clear the weeds. Water the soil. Prepare for the renewal of spring. Be a garden where the seeds of love, kindness, compassion and grace will find a fertile soil
Find a place where you can listen to this beautiful meditative chant “You Shall Be Like a Garden” by John Philip Newell: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fxHYw4vMNx0,
Dear God, We long for the tender care of your hands, the watering of the Living Water, and feeling the warmth of your Son. Help us to fight back the weeds. Help us to grow and flourish and bring beauty of your spirit to everyone. May we become that garden, receptive to the You, the Master Gardener. Amen.
Author: Bonnie Barber
Various authors throughout the Chesapeake Bay Mission Center and beyond provide these thought-provoking weekly devotions.