First Sunday of Lent
February 14, 2016
“The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart . . . .”
The readings for this First Sunday of Lent call us to the Church’s annual retreat, a spiritual “time out” to reflect on the treasure that is our faith, to reflect on our lives, and during this Jubilee Year of Mercy, to enter more deeply into the compassionate and merciful love of God—to slow down and pray.
But for pastoral musicians and liturgists, Lent is just the opposite! It is a time of added prayer services, extra rehearsals, and careful study of and preparation for the rituals that compose the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults. As parish ministers, our days start early and end late. During such busy times, I find that the first two things to suffer are my prayer life and my ability to care for myself, making it very difficult to be a true minister of God’s love and mercy.
We need to be drawn by Paul’s affirmation that the word is already present in our being; we need to put it into action. By allowing Paul to guide our ministry this Lent, we may yet find the time to slow down, pray, and contemplate the mercy and love of God present in the Word. When we can do this, we are better able to care for ourselves, to serve our parish, and to show compassion and care for those who are wounded and weak.
Loving and merciful God,
open our minds and hearts to your Spirit’s grace in our lives,
prompting, leading, and driving us to a deeper contemplation of your Word.
May we see your truth surrounding us, hear your voice in one another,
and receive all the blessings you have prepared for us during this holy season.
We ask this in the name of Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.
Office of Worship
Diocese of Des Moines, Iowa