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  • Cynthia Fraser

Lenten Reflection: Saturday the Second Week of Lent

“God, we give thanks for the conversations that stir our hearts into new ways of living in loving relationship. Take the chaos and confusion and disorder of our minds and spirits and hold them so completely in Your grasp that the impure thing will become pure, the crooked thing will become straight, and the crass and hard thing will be gentled by Your spirit.”

-From “For The Inward Journey; The Writings of Howard Thurman”

“As we still ourselves in your presence, O God, widen the narrowness of our little lives to make room within us for love, for understanding, for courage, for healing.

Open unto us – light for our darkness.

Open unto us- courage for our fear.

Open unto us- hope for our despair.

Open unto us – peace for our turmoil.

Open unto us – strength for our weakness.

Open unto us – wisdom for our confusion.

Open unto us - honesty for our deceptions.

Send the Holy Spirit to be our guide as we become a part of your healing work within us, among us, and around us. In Christ’s Name, Amen.”

-Based on the prayers of Howard Thurman (1900-1981).

Our Sacred Circle opened with one of these prayers by Howard Thurman, an African American theologian. They set a wonderful tone for our meetings. After a busy day of zoom meetings, deadlines at work and dealing with the challenges of a pandemic, his prayers hit the right note to transition into our Sacred Circle. Honestly, I had never heard of Howard Thurman and wanted to learn more because these two prayers were so eloquent and thoughtful, so I read more about him online and enjoyed reading a lot more of his prayers. He was a very prolific writer, and I encourage you to read some of his writings, Jesus and the Disinherited was part of the curriculum of the Sacred Circle, but he has a dozen other books.

I love this line, “O God, widen the narrowness of our little lives to make room within us for love, for understanding, for courage, for healing.” In the midst of a pandemic, we have all had more time to reflect and realize that before the pandemic, we were running around with our “to do lists”, thinking that being busy meant we were living full lives. This quiet time during the pandemic has opened my eyes to what is truly important, doing the work of God and spreading love wherever and however we can in our community.

Our church has been doing an amazing job of spreading love, even while apart, through tutoring the SLYC kids on zoom and helping with the summer camp online, and giving Christmas gifts through Amazon. We have many people collecting food, not just at Thanksgiving, but year-round, for the needy in Baltimore County through ACTC. Several people rang our church bell for months to thank our healthcare workers and that sound ringing through Ruxton created a sense of caring community for our neighbors, not just our parishioners.

I hope that I can continue to “widen the narrowness of my life” by making room for love.

-Cynthia Fraser

How has the pandemic opened your eyes to what’s important? What experiences have “widened the narrowness of your life” to make room for love, understanding, courage, and healing?

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