On Readings for the 4th Sunday in Lent, Year C
March 20, 2022
Opening Prayer HEALER
We look to you for graceful balm,
Your medicine for our interior life.
Reach toward our old heartaches.
Help us to end what causes distress,
To release what stunts our growth
In becoming all we are meant to be.
Show us our troublesome blind spots
So we are not secretly ruled by them.
Touch the soreness of our spirit
And heal us of our inner ailments.
Today: I bring what hurts in me to the Healer.
Joyce Rupp, Fragments of Your Ancient Name, March 17
Opening question for sharing: What type of tree would you wish to be?
Isaiah 55: 1-3a
Ho, everyone who thirsts, come to the waters; and you that have no money, come, buy and eat! Come, buy wine and milk without money and without price. Why do you spend your money for that which is not bread, and your labor for that which does not satisfy? Listen carefully to me, and eat what is good, and delight yourselves in rich food. Incline your ear, and come to me; listen, so that you may live.
I Corinthians 10: 13
God is faithful, and he will not let you be tested beyond your strength, but with testing he will also provide the way out so that you may be able to endure it.
Luke 13: 6-9
Then Jesus told this parable: “A man had a fig tree planted in his vineyard; and he came looking for fruit on it and found none. So he said to the gardener, ‘See here! For three years I have come looking for fruit on this fig tree, and still I find none. Cut it down! Why should it be wasting the soil?’ He replied, ‘Sir, let it alone for one more year, until I dig around it and put manure on it. If it bears fruit next year, well and good; but if not, you can cut it down.’”
Be done with the god of demanding,
the god of Not Good Enough.
Be done with the God of No.
Turn to the God of Yes,
the God of Let Me Nourish,
the God of I Believe In You.
The God of mercy, God who gives,
God of what takes time,
God of hidden gifts unfolding.
Let the God of Yes dig around your roots.
Feel the patient fingers.
Feel the disturbance.
(Of course, that one is also
the God of Manure
for which there is another word.)
Let the God of Manure
turn waste and refuse into food,
death into life.
Let the God of Yes bear fruit in you,
the fruit of Yes for others,
for nourishing, not judging.
This very day you may have the chance
to lay down your axe
and take up a trowel.
Be a gardener of Yes,
and your own roots
may be nourished.
Steve Garnaas-Holmes, Unfolding Light, www.unfoldinglight.net
With your eyes closed, relax from your toes up in three parts, breathing in God’s light/comforting darkness, love, strength, and healing power. Surround yourself with those gifts of God as you breathe out. Hand over to God whatever feels heavy or burdensome as you exhale. Hand over to God the things of yesterday, today, and tomorrow, so that you might encounter God in God’s eternal NOW.
Imagine yourself as some type of tree, perhaps a favorite tree from your childhood, or whatever type of tree you wish to be like. Look at yourself as this tree. Where do you find growth? Where are you growing, branching, and flowering? Where do you sense places of blight, disease, or deadness? What hopes or dreams or prayers seem to have withered?
Imagine Jesus as the kind-hearted gardener in his parable, gazing at you as the tree. First of all, Jesus is thrilled with your tree and praises you saying, “Well done, thou good and faithful servant!”
Then, ask Jesus for help with the withered parts of the tree that you have looked at. What “fertilizer” would you ask of Jesus to help heal the deadened parts of your tree, to help your tree sprout leaf and fruit, to help your tree grow strong and perhaps shelter others?
Spend some time talking with Jesus about your own places of loss and death, and asking for help to live and thrive.
Advice from a Tree
Stand Tall and Proud
Sink your roots deeply into the Earth
Reflect the light of a greater source
Think long term
Go out on a limb
Remember you place among all living beings
Embrace with joy the changing seasons
For each yields its own abundance
The Energy and Birth of Spring
The Growth and Contentment of Summer
The Wisdom to let go of leaves in the Fall
The Rest and Quiet Renewal of Winter
Feel the wind and the sun
And delight in their presence
Look up at the moon that shines down upon you
And the mystery of the stars at night.
Seek nourishment from the good things in life
Earth, fresh air, light
Be content with natural beauty
Drink plenty of water
Let your limbs sway and dance in the breezes
Remember your roots
Enjoy the view!
Closing Prayer CONSOLER
You remain our core consolation
When depression digs deeply
Into the remains of our energy,
When loss obliterates our joy
And emptiness predominates,
When turmoil rules our mind
Or disappointment engulfs us.
You are a gentle touch of kindness,
A soothing word of genuine support,
A strengthening hug of sympathy.
Today: The Consoler abides with me.
Joyce Rupp, Fragments of Your Ancient Name, March 18