Lenten Devotional Series: Week 1
Week 1 – May it be the Father’s Will
Lent is the forty weekdays leading up to Easter, beginning on Ash Wednesday. For early Christians this time was used to prepare candidates for baptism and also became a time of penitence for those who had already been baptized. For most of us Lent has become a time of prayer, meditation and reflection.
As Christians we are to follow the way that Christ has shown us and prepared for us. We are to follow him all the way to God by way of the Cross. As we move deeper into this Lenten season there will be many things going on in our churches and in our ministries. I want to encourage you to take time for yourself, spend time following Jesus and his path to Life.
The Stations of the Cross have provided focused meditation during the Lenten season for Christ Followers all over the world. There are many forms of this tradition and many ways it has been presented and practiced. This series is based on "The Scriptural Way – Stations of the Cross." There are fourteen stations, two will be presented each week to give you an opportunity to have time to meditate and reflect on them over the course of the forty days of Lent. I pray that these devotions help you Follow Christ even closer than you already are.
Joy and Peace,
Editor’s note: There are several different interpretations of the Stations of the Cross. This Lenten series utilizes one. For other versions, consult a theological dictionary or web resources.
Week 1 - May it be the Father's Will
Station #1 – Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane
Read Matthew 26:36-46
Jesus is overwhelmed with sorrow, he is in agony over what is about to happen and takes the disciples with him to the Garden. He then goes off by himself to pray, instructing them to keep watch. Jesus cries out to God, asking if there is any other way. Jesus acknowledges that God could take the "cup" away but also says that he wants God’s will to prevail. Jesus comes back to his closest friends, perhaps seeking comfort, to find them sleeping and not able to offer him any solace.
Imagine the scene. Picture it in your mind, and think about the juxtaposition of Jesus in such despair and the Disciples lying nearby sleeping.
As you meditate on this scene, what images or thoughts come to mind? How does it relate to where you are today? Are you in despair, desperately seeking comfort or a way out? Are you like the disciples, not able to keep watch, or keep your eyes open? Are you unable to be fully present to the situations around you?
We cry out to you today. We need your help, we sometimes feel like we cannot handle the task set before us and pray for another way. Give us your comfort, Holy One. Also give us willing hearts, minds and bodies to submit fully to your will. Remind us today that you are always in control, and that your will and your way are perfect. Strengthen us Father. Help us to stay awake, keep watch, and be aware of what is happening around us. Forgive us for our hearts our willing but our bodies are weak. Strengthen us to be better followers. Amen
Station #2 – Jesus is Betrayed by Judas and Arrested
Read Matthew 26:47-56
Judas approaches with a crowd armed with swords and clubs, he greets Jesus as he normally would, with a kiss. One of Jesus’ companions jumps to his defense, but Jesus quickly tells them all to back off, that this is the way it was foretold in the Scriptures; this is the will of God. Again we have a juxtaposition: Jesus is both greeted and betrayed by a friend, a close friend and follower. Picture the scene. Think about how bizarre it must have seemed to all who were present. What images and thoughts come to mind as you meditate on this scene?
How does it relate to where you are today?
Have you been betrayed? Have you betrayed someone close to you?
Are you one of Jesus companions, watching in disbelief, jumping to defend without thinking?
Jesus, our brother, our friend,
Forgive us for any times of betrayal, times when we might have given you up or someone close to us for our own petty gain. There are politics all around us, even in our churches and ministries. Forgive us when our allegiance is to anyone other than you and your glory. Strengthen us today with your grace, so that we may not simply watch in disbelief, or clumsily jump to defend without first seeking your wisdom. Help us always to be quick to listen, and slow to speak and slow to anger. Remind us always to seek your will and your way as we want to follow closer. Amen.