A Pilgrim’s Prayer

Today we begin the journey toward Holy Week and the joys of Easter, but we begin in ashes.  In the Christian liturgical calendar you might think of the long arc from Ash Wednesday to Pentecost as a pilgrimage from the dust of a spent flame to the bold witness of pentecostal fire.  The season of Lent which begins that longer arc, can be understood as a time to honestly take an inventory of everything deadly within us — all our troubling impulses to be someone less than we were created to be.  Lent ends with the witness of resurrection at the front and center.  So we move through Lent from deathliness to new life in Christ.  As the apostle Paul wrote in Romans chapter six:

Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death?  4 Therefore we have been buried with him by baptism into death, so that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, so we too might walk in newness of life.
Rom. 6:5   For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we will certainly be united with him in a resurrection like his.  6 We know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body of sin might be destroyed, and we might no longer be enslaved to sin.  7 For whoever has died is freed from sin.  8 But if we have died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him.  9 We know that Christ, being raised from the dead, will never die again; death no longer has dominion over him.  10 The death he died, he died to sin, once for all; but the life he lives, he lives to God.  11 So you also must consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus. [NRSV]

Lent is a time for us to pursue the goal of a life in which we are “dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus.”

This Lent I will be offering devotions largely derived from the prayer given below.  It is a prayer I wrote some years ago for The Pilgrimage ministry.  For today, I invite you to read this prayer slowly and thoughtfully and to begin wondering about the many petitions it makes that God might lead us, and that we might be wise enough and courageous enough to follow.

A Pilgrim’s Prayer

Lead me, Lord,

gently, pervasively, irresistibly, increasingly,

so that I walk my pilgrim way steadily,

and find the place of my resurrection.

Lead me, Lord,

so that I neither dally nor disobey,

nor turn aside, nor stand still,

nor stumble, nor turn back in loyalty

to old gods who will not bless me.

Lead me, Lord,

as a felt Presence,

as a constant companion,

as a counselor in perplexity,

as my first, fast, last friend.

Lead me, Lord,

by the restlessness of spiritual longing

by the hope of finding my true home,

by the yearning of a hungry heart.

Lead me, Lord,

by grace to gratitude,

by gratitude to generosity of spirit,

by generosity to mercy,

that I may cultivate a compassionate heart.

Lead me, Lord,

through your loving embrace,

so that I do not forget or fall away,

but remain steadfast and loyal,

joyful and true on my journey with you.

Amen.