During the Lenten season, staff and church leaders will share a daily devotional. Please join us on the journey.

16 Rejoice always, 17 pray without ceasing, 18 give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.

1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

Come In March

Dear March – Come in –
How glad I am –
I hoped for you before –
-Emily Dickinson

Bonnie Barclay – Prayer Warrior

Homage to the month of March burns bright in our minds and perhaps Emily Dickinson writes of it best.   I invite you to read the entire poem here.

March, named for the Roman god of war, was called Martius in the Roman calendar. With it come thoughts of hopefulness and happiness, mayhem and madness. If you were to ask Julius Caesar, I doubt that March would be his favorite month. But if you were to ask college basketball fans, it would be a favorite as March Madness rolls in with bracket fever.

For Christians near and far, March has a much deeper meaning when Lent is upon us. As a cradle Methodist, it wasn’t until college that I walked through the stations of the cross at a catholic church with my roommate and felt a deeper Lenten experience. By tracing each excruciating step of Christ’s crucifixion walk, I experienced a more guttural feeling of Good Friday than I ever had. I had always felt Easter deep in my soul, but I really didn’t understand the grueling pilgrimage of Lent. It became my least favorite season of the church.

I’ve never fasted for Lent. I’ve never walked the steps of Holy Cross Immaculata atop Mount Adams in Cincinnati along with 10,000 others to remember Christ’s walk to Calvary. I’ve never bloodied my back with self-flagellation (warning: some graphic images at this link) as they do in the Philippines. I’ve never ‘prayed with my feet’ by walking the Camino de Santiago, a 500-mile pilgrimage in Spain.

On the other hand, Methodists might give up chocolate, wine, swearing or social media – hardly a comparison to the blood and guts exhibited by other denominations around the world. But we PRAY. We can pray long and hard for forgiveness. We pray for reflection. We can LISTEN and wait. We can strip away the unnecessary and slow down to become supplicant.

1Thessalonians 5:16-18 “Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you”.

This Lenten season, I promise to not just fast-forward to Easter joy on April 1. I will invest myself in prayer but wait for the Alleluia. I will embrace this season of grief and try my best to achieve almsgiving or justice towards my neighbor. At the least, with God’s help, I can try.

“Dear God, I pray during Lent to leave self behind and embrace you fully. I will look to the Alleluia of Easter but not forget the Garden of Gethsemane. Amen.”