Lent Week One
Make this Lent a season for Bridge-Building
Every human society (be it a family, a sporting team, a local service organisation, a nation or the global community) requires a critical mass of people who are willing and able to engage, more or less consistently, in constructive relationships. This includes the willingness and the ability to build and maintain relationships, as well as the willingness and ability to rebuild relationships when they have been damaged or broken.
What is it like to be in a good relationship?
What (in your experience) makes for good relationships?
(Think practically and concretely. Listen to your stomach!)
What does it feel like to be in a failed or failing relationship?
What makes for failed or failing relationships?
(Again, think practically and concretely. Listen to your stomach!)
What do you personally find is so difficult about healing failed or failing relationships?
We are made in the image and likeness of God who is a communion of being – Father, Son and Holy Spirit. We are at our best when we are relating well (or at least doing our best to relate well) to God, ourselves, other people and the world at large. Our primary challenge in life therefore is to develop the attitudes and dispositions; behaviours and actions, that make us available to that state of being where God reigns. In the Gospels they call this state of being the Kingdom of God.
In his account of the Passion, Luke puts on the lips of Jesus a prayer, “Father, into your hands I commit my spirit.” (Luke 23:46). We find the source of these last words in a Psalm that is at once a confident cry for deliverance, a deep expression of praise and an act of surrender:
In you, O Lord, I seek refuge;
do not let me ever be put to shame;
in your righteousness deliver me.
Incline your ear to me;
rescue me speedily.
Be a rock of refuge for me,
a strong fortress to save me.
You are indeed my rock and my fortress;
for your name’s sake lead me and guide me,
take me out of the net that is hidden for me,
for you are my refuge.
Into your hand I commit my spirit;
you have redeemed me, O Lord, faithful God.
That simple prayer suggests confidence, intimacy, affection and great trust. We can reasonably conclude that this little prayer is an expression of Jesus’ heart, his life, his communion with the Father. How often would he have recalled this Psalm as he lived out his days in Palestine?
Pray this prayer through the day, whenever you think of it. “Father, into your hands I commit my spirit.” Pray it thoughtfully, in union with Jesus. Listen with the ear of the heart as you pray it. From time to time include someone else’s name or an event or a thing. “Father, into your hands I commit ….”