Lenten Devotional, 2/22/2012


Wednesday, February 22 

Ash Wednesday
Return to the Lord your God, for God is gracious and merciful,
slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love...   
-- Joel 2:12   
During Lent, we can help one another return to God. 
Friendship in Christ is a gift of grace, as was the book of poems by Madeleine L'Engle, The Ordering of Love, a gift from one of you to me several years ago.  

Pages are dog-eared, including this one, page 328, "Sonnet 10."   
Don't tell me that his pain is over now.
Don't tell me cancer is a good God's will.
Don't talk about the Great Prime Mover, how
He knows all things, controls the future still.
Give me God who makes his creatures free
To play the story to a glorious finish,
Whose power is in relinquishing power, so we
May grow in love.  Oh, let his power diminish
As he comes in to us with all our pain,
Who shows magnificence upon a cross,
Who o'er a groaning universe does reign
Until love triumphs over every loss.
Only this God is strong enough to say
"I love you," and so throw all power away.
Today is Ash Wednesday, the first day of Lent.  Let us gather with one another.  Let us feel the ashes upon our brows.  Let us know our smallness.  Let us begin to deny ourselves for a season.  Let us receive the love that God offers.  -- Hope Morgan Ward
Prayer: Lord Jesus, our prayer is for strength this Lent.  Help us to be strong, "strong enough to say, "I love you," and so throw all power away." Through the Holy Spirit, we pray. Amen.   
Hope Morgan Ward is the resident Bishop of the Mississippi Conference of The United Methodist Church.

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