On-call with Jesus – Lent 2020

As I contemplated how I would be / what I will do, for Lent 2020 I’ve decided to commit to regular times in my glass studio, giving at least a dollar to everyone who asks – on street at stop lights etc. and trying to live the 40 days of Lent as though I was on call with Jesus; requiring me to refrain from alcohol. This is my response as I have listened to my heart’s response to “what are you giving up for Lent?”. Seeing as I’d like this blog to be the place I share what I hear as I listen – to Spirit, to myself, to others – I will elaborate. If you ever want to know how it’s going, please comment.

My understanding of Lent is that many Christians emphasis some tradition Christian practises, prayer, almsgiving and fasting to intentionally acknowledge the suffering and death of Jesus. 

My personal Window of Grace with original tree in background.

PRAYER – readers of my blog know that creating stained glass pieces of art is one of the 3 main ways I am to “be and do” during this season of retirement. In an earlier blog I described the process of making Windows of Grace, however I left out how creating these pieces – any piece really – has become a way of praying for me. I believe that prayer is connecting with the Holy One in various ways, contemplation, petition, praise, responding to the invitations, nudges and graces of Spirit. With the help of my spiritual director I’ve come to see that creating stained glass pieces can be prayer for me. That process often is a collaborative response with the creative force that shapes the universe. All that to say I’m committing to a regular time in my stained glass studio for “prayer” this Lent – at least an hour a day. I hope to pray with the heart of Jesus, along with Rohr’s prayer from his daily email meditation (https://tinyurl.com/vupwaux) :

O Great Love, thank you for living and loving in us and through us. May all that we do flow from our deep connection with you and all beings. Help us become a community that vulnerably shares each other’s burdens and the weight of glory. Listen to our hearts’ longings for the healing of our world. [Please add your own intentions.] . . . Knowing you are hearing us better than we are speaking, we offer these prayers in all the holy names of God, amen.

ALMSGIVING – giving money to help folk further the work of Jesus through a local congregation or other charity is a regular part of our lives, the tax break is cool too. When I see folk begging, especially at street lights, I try to acknowledge them with a smile but seldom give any money, usually because I don’t know what they are going to do with “my” money. I’m hoping that giving to everyone who asks, at least for 40 days will give me the experience of living out of a compassionate heart first – saying yes, before analyzing  – something it seems Jesus did. He wasn’t naive, but compassion for humanity came first, even submitting to a horrible death on the cross.

FASTING – when I contemplated, in prayer and thought, what could I stop doing that would help me remember Jesus suffering during Lent, I thought of stopping something that keeps me from being available to serve as he did – doing the will of God. I was reminded that that way of being – being ready to do what God wants at a moments notice, is sort of like being on call. One of the blessings of retirement is that I can choose what I will do, besides sleeping, eating, breathing, etc…don’t get me started on exercise. However, when I choose to carry the pager for my role as spiritual care provider at a local hospital, I also choose to give up some things i.e. traveling to far from home, sometimes sleeping through the night. I also refrain from doing anything that would impede my ability to give good spiritual care, so I choose not to take any mood alternating substances including alcohol for at least 24 hours before call. So if I want to be available to God for whatever during Lent and hopefully beyond, I thought one way of looking at it would be “going on call with Jesus” for Lent. That means I’m “giving up” drinking alcohol for that period, except on Sundays and St. Patrick’s day – of course, unless I’m on call at HSC during the week.

May your Lenten season be blessed with times of full of deep reflection and joy – especially during this health crisis and the solitude, physical distancing and postponements it’s engendered. The Church and it’s traditions continue, grounding us all in the resurrection power, hope, loving presence of the Living God.

About gsmurphy1

Husband, father, son, brother, listener, seeker, encourager, pilgrim, stained glass artist
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