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Searching for God
for the
Six Weeks
of Lent


Listening for God
by The Rev. Margaret B. Gunness

The season of Lent seems so different from the other seasons in the church
calendar. In itself, it has a specific purpose to be pursued and experienced daily. Yet there are no special decorations in the streets or windows, no seasonal greeting cards in the stores, not even a regular starting date fixed in our calendars. In a way, Lent seems to sneak up on us and then to pounce when it's least expected. And when it comes, it invites us - not just to the celebration of a single Holy Day, but into a lengthy discipline of prayer and reflection, giving us the opportunity to reflect on our lives and to correct the course they may be taking. I don't know about you, but I need this opportunity, this discipline. Every year I need it. In his book Listening to your Life, Frederick Buechner has issued that same invitation in this way:

Listen to your life. See it for the fathomless mystery that it is. In the boredom and pain of it no less than in the excitement and gladness: touch, taste, smell your way to the holy and hidden heart of it because in the last analysis all moments are key moments, and life itself is grace.

Margaret GunnessWhat transforms this listening from self-indulgence into holy listening is that we do it intentionally in the presence of God, that we stop, look for God's presence in our lives and listen for God's voice as it speaks to us in the events and emotions of our everyday living. For example, we can listen through attentive reading of scripture or books of devotion or poetry or even science, mathematics or history. We can listen through prayer, through reflection on our hopes, our sorrows and anxieties, our loneliness and relationships, our work and leisure. We can listen by naming what we love and what we fear, by opening up both the heights and depths of our lives before the very heart of God. And always, in all these reflections, what we are really listening for is nothing less than an awareness and assurance of the presence of God, who has been listening to us and now takes this invitation of our attentiveness to respond. Again quoting Buechner:

(God's) message is not written out in starlight .. rather it is written out for each of us in the humdrum, helter-skelter events of each day ... Who knows what he will say to me today ... Not knowing is what makes today a holy mystery as every day is a holy mystery.

Copyright ©2001 by The Rev. Margaret B. Gunness



Sorting It Out
A Lenten Toolbox for deep reflection

A Thought a Day for the season of Lent

Daily Meditations

during Lent

Good Friday

The Story of Easter,
Then and Now

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Margaret Gunness:

Do I have to believe that Christ literally rose from the dead to be a Christian?

The Gifts of Doubt and Forgiving

Walking with Christ

Literature as an Invitation to Spiritual Growth Online Book Group

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