Wednesday, February 06, 2008

A Devotional Series for Lent

Seven years ago, I was preparing to leave ministry as a United Methodist local pastor of two churches I had come to love more than I'd ever dreamed possible. While I have continued to work in the church as a musician most of the time since June 2001, I have not returned to pastoral ministry; it's been as though a large part of my heart and soul have gone dormant and cold.

Part of preparing to leave involved a Lenten project that I called "What Wondrous Love Is This, O My Soul? Readings and Prayers for Lent 2001." I re-read that little book over the weekend and was blessed again by it. In the hope that it will meet someone else's need in some small way, I will be posting each day's page here. Here is my preface to that project:

Dear friends,

This is the fourth and final Lent that I will be sharing with you. In order to prepare this little devotional book, I first compiled a list of some of my favorite Scripture passages and hymns.

I can't begin to explain what a blessing this exercise has been! (Try it sometime. Sit down with a good concordance and think of all the words and phrases from the Bible that have meant a lot to you, then thumb through a hymnal to find your favorites. List these selections, and see what they say about your faith.) I learned that the books of Psalms and Isaiah and the Gospel of John hold some of my most treasured passages, and that my favorite hymns are the ones addressed to God, rather than ones about God.

My favorite part of this, however, has been the time I've spent in prayer over each pairing of Scripture and hymn. The results are given for each day's readings; I hope that you, and any others you may share your home with, will use these little prayers in your daily devotions. (Notice that there are no "amens" on the prayers. They are meant to be open-ended for you to finish.)

. . . .

My heart is very full right now. Amid the sorrow of preparing to leave, however, is the joy of having shared so much of life together with you. Please accept this book as a gift of gratitude to you for being a part of the body of Christ, the church family, with me. And most of all, may God grant you every rich blessing as you observe this holy season of Lent. Let us all follow the Lord Jesus on his journey to Jerusalem, the cross, and the Resurrection.

Please note, friends: I am NOT going anywhere now. This is from 2001. Please don't worry!



Anonymous said...

Preparing to am I missing???Paisley

Psalmist said...

Paisley, don't worry! I edited the post to make it clearer that I wrote the preface in 2001, when I was leaving the churches I had pastored for nearly four years. I'm not leaving anywhere, in a final or any other sense, right now.

Sorry if I freaked you out there!

Singing Owl said...

(((({Psalmist)))) I cannot believe it has been seven years since I grieved for you as you left your pastoral ministry. I will be reading along in the coming days. And on a totally different kind of note, I tagged you for a book meme. A little more dumb fluff. :-)

Psalmist said...

S.O., thanks for the tag -- I played -- and thank you especially for sharing such a long period of history with me. It's really hard for me to fathom that it's been so long, too!

You know I have at least some idea what it feels like to be in your shoes. This may not be the best time to say this, but knowing you has been like having a long-distance sister. Please know that I continue to pray, hard, for God's way to become clear to you -- SOON! ((((((SO)))))