SERMONS

Re-listen to a sermon, or catch one you missed. 

SONGS

Recommended songs for this season of uncertainty

PRACTICE

Suggestions for ways you can practice living out the ideas and themes of the series.  

Spiritual Practice of Hand Washing
by Tohru Inoue

It’s one of the first things we teach our children when they’re growing up. “Wash your hands! Did you scrub off all the dirt!?” There is so much attention paid to that simple lesson we learned so many years ago. It’s proving important again... this simple practice.

 

I’ve found something oddly contemplative about the practice. Something oddly satisfying about slowing down and taking time to wash my hands. Even as the first confirmed case of COVID-19 in Kenya was announced today, this small activity I learned as a child is helping me to focus my thoughts on the idea of what it means to be clean; not just physically but to contemplate what it means to be clean.

 

Like Brother Lawrence, being able to find God even in a practice like washing. Washing... being washed... It may just be a Lenten practice in these troubled times. It's possible in 20 seconds to find God. 

Lectio Divina

This week you are invited to spend time meditating on John 14:5-7. The ancients used a practice called Lectio Divina or sacred reading. An explanation of this practice can either be downloaded here or learned through the video below.

Breath Prayers

By Sarah Bessey

 

from Matthew 11:28-30

Inhale: Humble and gentle One,

Exhale: you are rest for my soul.

from Romans 8:38-39

Inhale: Nothing can separate me,

Exhale: from the love of God.

from Psalm 46:10

Inhale: Be still 

Exhale: and know you are God.

from 1 John

Inhale: There is no fear

Exhale: in your Love.

from Psalm 23

Inhale: I will not be afraid

Exhale: for You are with me.

from Psalm 46:1

Inhale: You are our refuge

Exhale: and our strength.

from Psalm 91:1

Inhale: I find rest

Exhale: in Your shelter.

from Philippians 4:7

Inhale: Peace of Christ,

Exhale: guard my heart and mind.

READ

Books, articles, blogs, or excerpts to take your thinking deeper into the themes of the series. 

Chosen in the Furnace

an article from Christianity Today

 

“Behold, I have refined thee, but not with silver; I have chosen thee in the furnace of affliction.”
Isaiah 48:10 (KJV)

Day 3. 266,115 confirmed cases, 11,153 deaths globally.

Jesus refers to himself as the Way, the Truth, and the Life. He also says his followers should take up their crosses and follow him. The Way is the way to the cross. The Truth is crucified. The Life is a life of suffering.

Suffering is endemic to the human condition but essential to the Christian life. Christ bids us to die to ourselves. He models suffering for others. We do not run toward suffering for its own sake. Suffering is not good in itself. But in Christ, as we love God and love others, we will suffer, and in suffering, we will understand.

Not long after I broke my neck in a gymnastics accident, I sat in the dark of a movie theater and saw the words of Isaiah 48:10 on the screen. My dreams had been stolen. The rest of my life would be rifled through with chronic pain. Yet a sense of gratitude flooded over me. Perhaps there was some sense to the suffering. Perhaps I had been refined in the furnace of affliction and chosen to serve for the glory of God. Perhaps we all are.

We cannot choose whether to suffer. We can only choose what it will mean for us—whether we will let our suffering heal us and deepen us and teach us things about ourselves and about our God that we would never have otherwise known. Kierkegaard called it the school of suffering. We all attend the school, but we must each choose to learn.

As pain became my companion, suddenly I felt all my bones. What always hid beneath the surface arose with a rude and persistent ache. In a similar way, suffering illuminates the architecture of the soul. It makes us transparent to ourselves. It makes others visible to us who were not visible before. And it makes plain our need to rest wholly and unceasingly in God.

Suffering is frightening and ugly. It drags on at agonizing length and costs us all our strength. It makes us strain with every bone and muscle and tendon just to make it through another hour, another day. It carves away things we cherish.

In the end suffering abandons us to the depths, alone with God in silence and stillness. It teaches us, if we are willing to learn, that God himself is our final refuge, our final source of strength and solace. In suffering we lower ourselves, like Jesus, so God can lift us up.

The follower of Christ who learns wisdom in her suffering is like a moon mirrored in a lake: her light is only borrowed, and her lowliness reflects her height.

© 2020 VBChurch