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The Book Thief
One Thousand Gifts: A Dare to Live Fully Right Where You Are
On Gold Mountain
Bread & Wine: Readings for Lent and Easter
City of Tranquil Light: A Novel
The Distant Land of My Father
The Paris Wife
Bonhoeffer: Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy
Fall of Giants
World Without End
A Stolen Life
Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience and Redemption
The Pillars of the Earth
Sacred Rhythms: Arranging Our Lives for Spiritual Transformation
The Road
Trials of the Earth: The Autobiography of Mary Hamilton
The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society
The Accidental Billionaires: The Founding of Facebook, a Tale of Sex, Money, Genius and Betrayal
Cutting for Stone

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Entries in Present to the Moment (22)


it's easier to bolt

In the Garden of Gethsemane, Jesus asked his disciples to watch and pray three times. Three times, they snoozed. 

I am reminded of how easy it is just to bolt. Staying present is hard work. And, frankly, I can’t do it all the time. I can’t do it very well. To me, this is the purpose of Lent: to become aware of my weakness and know that I desperately need the grace of God. 

Monday evening I was busily cleaning out my closet (a chore I loathe), when Matt’s voice boomed from above: YOUR GROUP! It was like the voice from Heaven calling me out of my slumber. Quickly my eyes read the clock: 7:22 p.m. My group starts at 7:00. I spent the next 7 minutes agonizing over whether to drive the two miles to my group and interrupt them. 

It’s one thing to zone out and forget a commitment. But this was my SECOND week to completely space and forget my listening group. 

On Monday evenings, we gather to share what we are hearing from God. We receive one or two pages of insights and a few passages of Scripture for the coming week. Each of us shares what we see in the passage and how God is forming our souls through His Word.

I find it humorous that the passage with most punch for me this week was the one in which the disciples slept while Jesus suffered. Humorous because God gave me an object lesson in my own forgetfulness or lack of awareness. He reminded me of the difficulty in staying awake. He reminded me that I need Him.

In the end, I drove the distance over the speed limit. I rushed into the group. “Perfect timing,” someone said. They welcomed me like a community of grace would welcome a stray lamb. 

I am praying to be more present this week and to remain awake as we await the resurrection celebration on Sunday. And I am applying GRACE when I slumber.

Even so, today I celebrate this stupefying fact:

God has set EVERYTHING right between him and me. Romans 10:10


watch and pray

Today we enter Holy Week. In Honduras, no greater holiday exists. La Semana Santa far outshines Christmas. Stores shut down. Most people, even the poorer families, find their way to the beach. 

In downtown Tegucigalpa, artists craft carpets of painted sawdust covering the narrow streets. Curators walk the streets with spray bottles sprinkling water so that the sawdust won’t blow away in the dry wind. On Holy Sunday, a priest and some men in white robes will walk the carpet and stop at each station of the cross. A mass is held at the end of that procession in a small cathedral nearby.

I am pondering the moment when Jesus enters the Garden of Gethsemane and asks his disciples to watch and pray. He says he is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death. His disciples snoozed. 

When he returns, he says: “Stay alert; be in prayer so you don't wander into temptation without even knowing you're in danger. There is a part of you that is eager, ready for anything in God. But there's another part that's as lazy as an old dog sleeping by the fire."

This lenten season has been long. Amen, anybody? While I wait for spring, I am craning my neck to see the Resurrection just around the corner. It’s hard for us Protestants to stay in this death watch. Historically, I have paid little attention to this week. Living in Honduras changed me in a number of ways.

This week, I heed the words of Jesus: WATCH AND PRAY. The Spirit is willing but the body is weak. 

I want to learn to pray the words Jesus prayed. And mean it.

"My Father, if there is no other way than this, drinking this cup to the dregs, I'm ready. Do it your way."

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