Lent is not only a season for reflecting on the life, death and resurrection of Jesus the Christ, it is also traditionally a time to consider one’s own life and faith. The practice of giving something up for Lent is a sign and intention of our commitment to God, placing God before our own earthly desires and opening all of our life to God. By consciously denying ourselves things that make our lives easier, sweeter and more pleasurable, we focus more on the sacrifice Jesus made for the world. We become more aware of what we go through when we deny ourselves simple pleasures and what Jesus must have gone through during his resolute walk towards Jerusalem and the cross.
One of the most difficult things to give up is how we use time, how we typically cram a great deal of energetic activity and spinning, speeding thought into each waking moment. Today, as we pause for a few minutes, let us think about offering back to God the time God has graciously given to us.
A Meditation on Time
We are here today, sharing our lives, our time, with every other living creature on earth.
We live in time, and, to a large extent are ruled and governed by time, and yet, we worship a God who is outside of time, and we know ourselves to be citizens of eternity.
Sometimes, we experience time in a linear way: we live day by day, we have a past, we exist in the present and we look ahead to the future.
At other times, time seems to bend and curve, slow down, speed up, turn back: and it can feel as if we live more in the past, or we are so caught up in preparing for the future that we ignore the time we are given now.
We own time in different ways, with time for family and friends, time for work and time for ourselves, and sometimes we set time aside for God.
We allow ourselves time off.
At times we call ‘time out!’
Today, let us rejoice in the knowledge that the God who knows we live in time is able to be with us all the time.
This is the God who has seen our beginnings, who understands our present existence and who knows our endings.
With this God, our endings in time signal a new stage in our eternal life, where there is no ending.
And now we ask our God of grace to bless this time we have in time.
We pray for your world and all that you have made.
We pray for all people and all those who do the work of Christ.
We pray for your Church, for wisdom, guidance, courage and mercy.
We pray for all those who suffer and who are in need, especially those known to us.
We pray for all those who grieve.
We pray for our work today, for any decisions we will need to take.
We pray for all those we love, that you would protect them and give them peace.
We pray that as individuals and with others we might further your kingdom on earth.
And we pray the prayer Jesus taught his disciples:
Our Father …
May the God who created us and loved us even before we were in our mother’s womb, surround us with arms of love, give us a calm mind and breathe into our hearts and souls the peace that passes understanding.
Meditation on Time, original prayers and blessing by Christina Rees 2017
Christina Rees CBE was a member of General Synod for 25 years, and a founder member of Archbishops’ Council. She is a writer, broadcaster, communications consultant, and advocate for gender justice.