Dearly Loved

First Week of Lent
February 21, 2021

Opening
Lord, as we draw close to you in these moments, quiet us from all the noise within and from without. Stir us with your presence. Quicken us to hear your voice. Deepen your words, your truth, your love within us.

Reflection
Because of the pandemic and the layers of suffering that this last year has brought, we may feel more scattered than we normally do. We may find we have less energy, and fewer inner resources to draw upon. We may feel enshrouded in grief because there has just been too much. So before continuing, I invite us to just to take a few deep breaths for a moment or two… As we continue to breathe deeply, we enter the Lenten journey once again, reminded of how very deeply we are loved. Jesus not only meets us where we are, but He enters into our human story, and into the very fabric of our lives. As we accompany Jesus on his way to the cross, and then to the empty tomb, may we remember our tears are on His face. So as we journey with the One who loves us beyond our understanding May we be deeply moved and changed by it. May God’s grace heal, restore, and transform us again and again.

Invitation
Read the scripture through slowly a few times. The second time, notice the word or phrase to which where you are drawn. The third time, reflect on how this word or phrase speaks to your life right now.

Scripture: Mark 1:9-15
One day Jesus came from Nazareth in Galilee, and John baptized him in the Jordan River. As Jesus came up out of the water, he saw the heavens splitting apart and the Holy Spirit descending on him like a dove. And a voice from heaven said, “You are my dearly loved Son, and you bring me great joy.”
The Spirit then compelled Jesus to go into the wilderness, where he was tempted by Satan for forty days. He was out among the wild animals, and angels took care of him.
Later on, after John was arrested, Jesus went into Galilee, where he preached God’s Good News. “The time promised by God has come at last!” he announced. “The Kingdom of God is near! Repent of your sins and believe the Good News!”

Prayer of Response
Our Dearly Loved Parent,
Just as you named Jesus
as your dearly loved Son,
so you name us as your dearly loved
daughters and sons, because of Him.
Just as Jesus went through trying times,
so do we, and sometimes
they rock us to our very core.
Help us to remember always
that Jesus went before us,
that your Spirit lives within us,
And that you do name us
as your dearly loved.
May that unfathomable blessing
and the gift of
Your Triune companionship
remain within us in our very core,
from where we can draw strength and peace.
May we live from this identity
and reflect you in it,
as we seek to follow you
in all our ways.
Amen.

Rev. Eva Sullivan-Knoff,
Founder and Executive Director

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