Lent Devotional: Guide

Listen to my prayer, Lord!
Because of your faithfulness, hear my requests for mercy!
Because of your righteousness, answer me!
Please don’t bring your servant to judgment,
because no living thing is righteous before you.
The enemy is chasing me,
crushing my life in the dirt,
forcing me to live in the dark
like those who’ve been dead forever.
My spirit is weak inside me—
inside, my mind is numb.
I remember the days long past;
I meditate on all your deeds;
I contemplate your handiwork

I stretch out my hands to you;
my whole being is like dry dirt, thirsting for you. Selah
Answer me, Lord—and quickly! My breath is fading.
Don’t hide your face from me
or I’ll be like those going down to the pit!
Tell me all about your faithful love come morning time,
because I trust you.
Show me the way I should go,
because I offer my life up to you.
Deliver me from my enemies, Lord!
I seek protection from you.
Teach me to do what pleases you,
because you are my God.
Guide me by your good spirit
into good land.
Make me live again, Lord, for your name’s sake.”

Bring me out of distress because of your righteousness.
Wipe out my enemies because of your faithful love.
Destroy everyone who attacks me,
because I am your servant.

Psalm 143 CEB (via Biblegateway)
Iona Pilgrimage

Who is your guide?

Last May, I joined eleven other people of faith for the Missional Wisdom Foundation’s pilgrimage to the tiny Isle of Iona, Scotland. We traced the steps of many others who have made the journey to Iona and its famous abbey for hundreds of years. The purpose of our pilgrimage was to pull away for a time of retreat in one of the world’s “thin places,” a place on earth where the veil between heaven and earth seems thin. It truly is a breathtaking, sacred place – a place to experience God’s presence.

It would be nearly impossible to arrive on the tiny island of Iona by accident. Christian pilgrims have been making the journey for hundreds of years. From the United States, it involves taking flights to London and Glasgow, followed by a 4 hour train ride to the north of Scotland, a 1 hour ferry boat trip, 1 hour bus trip, and finally another 45 minute ferry ride. We then walked a half mile trek to the hostel for our week of community living.

This journey was possible because we had experienced and knowledgeable guides leading the way. They patiently but directly made sure all of the pilgrims made it to the right stations along the way on time, knowing that a delay anywhere along the journey would have ripple effect on everyone. The journey was made possible because we had dependable guides every step of the way.

It occurs to me that we are collectively on an unchartered journey right now, one none of us saw coming. It doesn’t seem that we have the benefit of being guided by a physical human being who has experienced global pandemic before. The journey feels treacherous, scary, hard. It’s overwhelming if we try to look too far down the road, but we can all go just one step at a time.

And yet, what we can remember as we take each small step together, is that none of us are on this journey alone. You are not alone. As the Psalmist reminds us, God is full of faithful love for us each morning, ready to show us the way to go. While this journey is difficult, we can trust that God is by our side, directing us on the way to go. May we find protection with God on our side, and the peace that passes all understanding as we remember that God is with us.

Prayer: Shepherding God, we believe that you are will us, guiding us and protecting us. We count on your faithfulness and know you to be a God who loves and cares for your children. We pray for your healing throughout our world and we put our trust in you. Please wrap your arms of love around us. In Jesus’s name. Amen.

Questions for reflection: How has God directed your steps in life? Who is on this journey with you? Who can you reach out to today to remind them that they are not alone (and in the process remember that you are not alone either)?

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