We are no longer our own, but yours. Put us with what you will, rank us with whom you will; put us to doing, put us to suffering; let us be employed for you or laid aside for you, exalted for you or brought low for you; let us be full, let us be empty; let us have all things, let us have nothing; we freely and wholeheartedly yield all things to your pleasure and disposal. Amen.
Scottish Church's Book of Common Order.
Breath Prayer: “of love” “of faithfulness"
There always seems to be so many questions when starting out on a journey: What to bring? Will I pack too much? Too little? Will I find my way? Who and what will I encounter? Am I ready?
As we begin our Lenten journey we bring many of these same questions. Preparations are now complete and we have stepped out into these 40 days for reflection, for prayer, for fasting from what has kept us apart from the Spirit in the past.
The words from this prayer brought me to tears when we spoke them together in worship during Epiphany this past January. I stumbled and bumbled over many of them, “put us with what you will…” They brought me to such a raw and vulnerable place, “put us to suffering.” I soon found a lump in my throat and tears running down my face. “Let us be laid aside for you…” Was it possible to pray these words and actually mean what I was saying?
And in the quiet that followed the “Amen,” I remembered the gift of collective prayer. They are words spoken together, as in one voice. I remembered that not all of us at any given time are able to wholeheartedly speak each word. Each speaks what she can and the words are carried, held, prayed by the Body.
I give thanks for my community of faith. I give thanks for these words spoken aloud by others who share the journey with me. Even in the echo now my heart remembers again that I am not alone. And as I / we begin this journey, that makes all the difference.
Prayer: Loving God, lead us we pray into this season with spirits that can hold on and let go. In these beginning days may we empty ourselves and set aside what has always been. Lead us, shape us, recreate in us this day. And may we know that truly, we have been given more than enough. We give you thanks and follow where you are leading us, Amen.
Working in Family Experience at Children's Healthcare of Atlanta, Lesley is an ordained minister in the United Church of Christ. A Candler School of Theology graduate, Lesley has just published her second book, Grief and the Psalms: Companioning the Moon for 29 Days (available on this website). She and her partner, Linda Ellis are raising their two sons, Brogan and Sam in Decatur, GA.