A Centering Practice to Begin:
Become aware of your body. Sit in a way that is comfortable for you, a position that will allow you to take a deep breath in and out. Close your eyes.
Then imagine a room or a place where you feel safe, your own sanctuary: it can be a real place or one that exists in your imagination. Imagine yourself in that sanctuary. Imagine the way the air smells and the way the light feels.
Breathe slowly and deeply while holding that place in your mind for a few moments, until you have all the details of it around your soul.
Then enter into your time of prayer or meditation from within that sanctuary. This is where you are now, where God has gathered you in his warmth and love. Here, we worship God.
At this point you can skip to the opening song, or try one of these breathing prayers with repetition:
- FROM MATTHEW 11:28-30:
- Inhale: Humble and gentle One,
- Exhale: you are rest for my soul.
- FROM 1 JOHN:
- Inhale: There is no fear
- Exhale: in your Love.
- FROM PSALM 23:
- Inhale: I will not be afraid
- Exhale: for You are with me.
Psalm 130 says:
I wait for the Lord, my soul waits, and in his word I put my hope.
My soul waits for the Lord more than watchmen wait for the morning, more than watchmen wait for the morning.
O People of God, put your hope in the Lord for with the Lord is unfailing love and with him is full redemption.
God Greets Us
Lord God, we long to be in your glorious presence.
We long to join with all creation and proclaim your greatness in one voice – a deep shalom that binds us together.
But darkness can overwhelm us. Fear is everywhere.
And we resist it. We resist suffering and brokenness, even though we know this life is full of trouble.
Whatever wilderness we walk through:
Help us to walk in boldness, as your beloved children.
To walk in peace, under the shelter of the Most High
To walk in faith, knowing Christ walks with us. Amen.
Call to Confession:
This season of Lent – 40 days that lead us to Easter – reminds us of the 40 days Jesus spent in the wilderness. It’s a time of noticing, both what’s around us and what’s within us. And it can be challenging, because it’s here in our inner wilderness that we often wander – desolate, deflated, and desperate – filled with anxiety and despair.
But it’s in these desert where we grow. Where we can’t hide. Where we can’t rely on our own devices. So we bring ourselves before God. We cry out, and we ask for refreshment to be revealed.
Words of Assurance:
You are not alone. You are held in the palm of God’s hand. His love never gives up on you.
Jesus said, “I am the resurrection and the life. Those who believe in me, even though they die, will live, and everyone who lives and believes in me will never die.”
So hear the good news: in Jesus Christ we are sought, we are found, we are forgiven. Thanks be to God!
Offering: Jubilee & Calvin Theological Seminary Distance Education
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Scripture Reading: Mark 5:35-43
While he was still speaking, some people came from the leader’s house to say, “Your daughter is dead. Why trouble the teacher any further?” But overhearing what they said, Jesus said to the leader of the synagogue, “Do not fear, only believe.” He allowed no one to follow him except Peter, James, and John, the brother of James. When they came to the house of the leader of the synagogue, he saw a commotion, people weeping and wailing loudly. When he had entered, he said to them, “Why do you make a commotion and weep? The child is not dead but sleeping.” And they laughed at him. Then he put them all outside, and took the child’s father and mother and those who were with him, and went in where the child was. He took her by the hand and said to her, “Talitha cum,” which means, “Little girl, get up!” And immediately the girl got up and began to walk about (she was twelve years of age). At this they were overcome with amazement. He strictly ordered them that no one should know this, and told them to give her something to eat.