Lent image–Waiting, Weeping, and Learning

When Jesus went off to pray in the desert, it was time of growth, prayer, waiting, and, yes, temptation. We, too, have desert times in life.

03 Lent--Ash Wed week--Desert wait weep learn--Jones

To be truly human, is to experience the highs and lows of feelings, to have times of joy and times of sorrow. Although Jesus was divine, he freely entered into these seasons and challenges of being human. If Jesus experienced these oh-so-human dimensions of life, it is only natural that his followers also have their desert times of waiting, weeping, and learning.

Will you pray with me?

Lord Jesus, when life feels overwhelming, help me to remember that you, too, had times of stress, confusion, agony, and grief. Grant me patience with the challenges of life, and when faced with difficult decisions, give me the wisdom I need to make the best choice. 

Until next time, Amen! 

Coming your way…Lenten messages!

Lent begins tomorrow, and I’ve been working on creating images with quotations to nurture our Lenten journeys together.  I will be posting them here, and also on my public Facebook page called Spiritual Drawing Board by Julie McCarty .

Day 1 Lent--Ash Wed--Psalm 86 6 - Copy

I hope you will find these images to be nourishing food for the Lenten journey and something positive and/or meaningful you can share in social media with your friends.

I will also be posting the images here so you can receive all of them in your e-mail (you have signed up to “follow” this blog in your e-mail haven’t you?). If you follow on Facebook, make sure you visit Spiritual Drawing Board page often or you won’t see all the posts. (The current delivery rate of posts on public FB pages is only about 2%.)

Whatever plans you have for Lent, may the good Lord bless you. Let’s pray for each other during this special time of preparation for the celebration of Easter.

Until next time, Amen! 

 

Whom do you trust the most of all?

While reading Psalms this morning, this verse caught my eye:

Some trust in chariots and
some in horses,
but we trust in the name
of the Lord our God.   (Psalm 20:7)

Whom do you trust--light blue image--Julie McCarty--April 7 2014This psalm is written for those experiencing a time of great trouble, a time of stress and fear. (The first line is “May the Lord answer you in the day of trouble!”)  So I think that the chariots and horses are ways of defending the people, ways of keeping them safe in the time of attack.

The psalmist isn’t saying not to use chariots or horses, but rather that one’s ultimate trust, the One to actually worship and stake your whole life upon is God.

I wonder, if the psalmist wrote this for us today, living in our own culture and time, what would he or she write? There are many possible answers, but here’s one…  a bit of a stinging challenge to us all (Lent is a challenging time, isn’t it?!):

Some trust in private investment,
others in government programs,
but we trust in
the love and mercy of God.

That’s not to say we don’t need private investment or government programs. It’s that these things are not as important as placing all our faith in God.

Trusting in God doesn’t mean everything will “go my way”… That might be what some think, especially those who subscribe to the “gospel of prosperity,” but the God I believe in is much more mysterious and beyond my comprehension. God is not at my beck and call, like a servant waiting to answer my petty little whims.

For me, trusting in God means staking my whole life on the message of love and mercy that Christ taught.  It means being willing to go the extra mile or take the risk to try something new for the sake of others.

Trust means believing that, in the end, it doesn’t matter if I have wrinkles or the Vikings win or which political party has the majority in Congress. Trusting in God means believing that there is something more important and more valuable than any of these things–and that the love we practice here prepares us for the loving embrace of God in the next life.

And, yes, at times, we do this very poorly–but that’s no reflection on the truth of Christ’s message. The fact that we fail to follow through on parts of the gospel is one good reason for the season of Lent: to recognize our sins, faults, weaknesses, and ways we “miss the mark” in our relationship with God and others.

Trust means believing that despite these sins and failings of mine, Christ has overcome sin and evil–and that Christ will continue to overcome sin and evil both now and in the future.

Now it’s your turn:

How would you rewrite the psalm verse for today?
What is the Spirit of God leading you to think about today?

Lenten reflection--Some trust in -- by Julie -- April 7 2014

Feel free to share your answer in the comment section if you like.

May the good Lord bless you. . . Until next time, Amen!

 

 

Lenten reflection: Marc Chagall’s White Crucifixion

I haven’t had the opportunity to blog as often lately, but I thought some of you might like to revisit a reflection I wrote three years ago about Marc Chagall’s “White Crucifixion.” I really enjoy Chagall’s unique style, and the “White Crucifixion” is  an amazing work of art –and good for Christians to ponder as we draw closer to the special time of Holy Week.

The Holy Spirit works in mysterious ways: this post was brought back into my awareness when Pope Francis said “White Crucifixion” is his favorite work of art

White Crucifixion--oil painting by Marc Chagall, 1938
White Crucifixion–oil painting by Marc Chagall, 1938

 

I have found that reflecting on the “White Crucifixion” is a kind of visio divina— that is, a prayerful meditation on a work of art. It brings my mind and heart into the realm of paying attention to God. To read that post, visit April 2011 on this blog.

May the good Lord bless you with awareness of his loving presence in your life in the days ahead. . .

Until next time, Amen!

P. S.  If you enjoy this blog, look for “Spiritual Drawing Board by Julie McCarty” on Facebook.