(Day Twenty-eight) Daily Lenten Devotional
Saturday, April 1st (Day Twenty-eight)
I pray for the courage to walk with Jesus Christ and to be with him in his passion and death.
The Third and Fourth Songs of the Suffering Servant, Isaiah 50:49 and 52:13-53:12
1. Come into God’s (Father, Son and Holy Spirit) loving presence. Feel God’s loving gaze. Offer yourself completely to God.
2. Silently sit before God for 10 minutes.
3. Read Isaiah 50:49 and 52:13-53:12 five times very slowly. The first time, simply and reverently read it, allowing God’s word to flow over you. The second time be aware of any verse word, phrase or concept that God is revealing to you as you read. Meditate silently for several minutes what the Lord has given you. During the third reading allow a prayer to formulate in your heart and offer that prayer to God. As the Scripture is read a fourth time, allow yourself to be drawn into the biblical scene as if you are living it right now. Be aware of any physical sensations, thoughts, or emotions that may arise. Journal your experience in detail. The fifth and final reading should be a reading of unknowing. Simply rest in the mystery of God’s presence and God’s Word, peacefully and with great joy.
4. Journal important aspects of the entire experience.
Read the following. You may use it as a guide or just food for thought:
The Third Song:
Those who serve God can endure much suffering only if they stay close to God. The gift of being able to feel God’s presence, which comes from life lived close to God turns persecution, struggles and difficulties into opportunities, rather than setbacks. Actions are especially empowered when the Lord’s promise to be with us is taken seriously. By keeping close to God, through prayer, meditation, and searching the Scriptures, we are given the gift of contemplation by which our sense of God’s presence becomes more acute. This allows us to respond, spirit, soul, mind, and body in accordance with God’s will in our daily activities. This I believe. Jesus stayed so close to the Father that God’s will was carried out, even when to do so meant crucifixion. Being close to God makes surrender possible, not out of weakness but out of the immense power that comes with the realization that God is with us. Like a great fighter who is so powerful and strong, knowing his/her ability that they never need to prove it to others. Gentle because they are strong. This is an inner strength that leads to inevitable victory as the ability to suffer for righteousness leaves one invulnerable to defeat.
The Fourth Song:
I thank you Jesus for leading us to the cross. It is here that we can place our sins, our struggles and our pain before you. Your victory is our victory. As I contemplate your suffering and my part in it, I imagine myself sitting before you, looking up at your bruised, broken body. I am speechless apart from a whispered, “I’m sorry, please forgive me.” I feel that I am gazing on the perfection of love. Your face is turned downward away from me. Then you lift your head. Turning toward me as you have so many times before, without condemnation, but with forgiveness, love and the smile I have come to know so well. Your love fills me with hope. Your suffering unites with my own---unity in suffering, new birth and resurrection. I feel as if I am being lifted up onto the cross with Jesus, unified in suffering, but not devastated or defeated by it. Loneliness destroyed. Suffering changed into something new and beautiful.