Sermon Audio (3.9.14) – Lent 1
March 10th, 2014 | John Chandler
Lent is here, and we are Preparing for Resurrection. Chris Morton leads our reflection through Matthew 4:1-11, the gospel text from the lectionary for this week.
A Short Exercise in Dying
We ended our time together on Sunday with a special Lenten prayer exercise. Cataphatic prayer is method of approaching God, not just with our written and spoken words, but with our imaginations.
In the text discussed, Matthew 4:1-11, Jesus avoids self reliance, magical thinking and coercion. These choices are essentially a “little death” that will lead to his ultimate execution.
Which is no big deal, if you know what comes after death.
Below is Sunday’s imaginative prayer exercise. It will help you die a little and let Jesus lead your life.
- Begin by closing your eyes and sitting up straight in your seat. Take a few deep breaths. Remember that God is always with us.
- In your mind’s eye, picture something that is ruling your life. Perhaps it is a hope or a dream you are working to achieve. Perhaps it is a relationship that takes up most of your energy. Perhaps it is a grudge that you can’t let go of, or an addiction that you can’t escape. Picture it clearly.
- Imagine it is a burden you are carrying in your arms. Feel how heavy it is. Feel it weighing you down. Feel the pressure it puts on your arms. Feel your shoulders tense up. Feel the soreness in your back from carrying it too long.
- Now, in your minds eye. Look up and see that Jesus is standing before you, like a guest waiting and knocking on your door. Jesus holds his arms out to you, and says, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.”
- Jesus is offering to carry your burden. Once you hand it to him, it will be his sole responsibility. If you are ready to allow Jesus to take responsibility, then hand your burden over to him.
- See how strong Jesus is? His powerful arms take your burden quickly and easily.
- Now, recognize how great it feels to know longer carry that burden. You let your arms drop. You feel your shoulders, neck and back relax. You even feel your chest rise, and your heart rate slow down.
- In front you, Jesus is carrying your burden, but it now looks incredibly small. He begins to walk, then he turns slightly and beckons you to join him.
- Will you take Jesus’s invitation?
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