Friends and Family,
This Spring semester I continued in a tradition this ministry has maintained for the past several years. A collection of students contribute writings and reflections based on a different Scripture for each day during the season of Lent. These reflections get compiled, edited by a CU writing professor, and put together in a booklet. I read one particular reflection this morning that caught my attention in a new way. A student reflected on Psalm 63, reminding us of the Psalmist’s frequent pattern of praise to the Lord, in light of God’s character and care. This particular student is working toward a PhD in Musicology so naturally, she provided us with an anthem on YouTube called, “I sat down under his shadow,” to go along with her devotional. It’s a mesmerizing tune about the delight we can experience in sitting under the shadow of a faithful God.
For me, the contrast here is the shadow I more frequently sit under. I wish I were more disciplined than this, but far too often I sit under the shadow of my own unmet expectations, of life’s trials made black and charcoal gray, like a tree’s shadow cast far out into the street ahead. The Lenten season is meant for us to take stock, to look at our lives with realistic and sobering eyes, acknowledging our sin and need for God, so that the celebration of the resurrection can become that much more profound and delightful. The song that accompanies this student’s reflection pulls me right out from underneath that trees’ far casted shadow and helps to settle me under the shadow of a God who is already right with me. It makes me think of spring, casting aside winter’s broken branches and darker afternoons, trading it for new growth and vibrant colors. This is the hope of the resurrection that keeps us ticking through the reality of Lent. That the dark shadows of life are not the end of the story, and therefore we can persevere.
I find myself so grateful for these students and the work that I get to do. Many of them offer me frequent reminders of the hope the cross offers. The Pope wrote an article on Lent, calling people to be grow in their awareness of others, casting aside all indifference and making themselves open to others. Recently on the CU campus, we learned that students of minority populations, particularly the African American community, are feeling ostracized, oppressed, or even unwelcome. There is an illusion of inclusion so folks are often numb to the issue, while racist rhetoric and negative comments are heard regularly, leaving students to feel unwelcome and completely “other.” I’m proud of our GCF students and how they are taking care to prayerfully consider how to respond. The first year small group has decided that during Lent they will daily take on a practice of praying for these students and begin to discern how we can actively respond as a community. They want to be a community that welcomes, includes, and loves, regardless of background.
Lent may be completely foreign to you, a totally un-touched experience or a simply distant curiosity. Regardless of how you experience Lent, or if you do at all, perhaps today can be an opportunity for you to not only be aware of others, but to rest in the shadow of a God good, with whom our care is rooted and grounded. I’ve included a PDF format of this Lenten Devotional for your use, giving thanks that your support has provided opportunities like this to exist in the life of our community. Simply click here to access:
God is at work here and your prayers and support have gone a long way.
Prayer Requests –
1. So far I have been subletting a place here in Boulder but the original renter will be back at the end of May and I’m in the process of looking for something new. Prayers for housing would be great!
2. The Spring retreat is happening next weekend, March 4-6 and we’ll be focusing on what it means to be a mature Christian. Prayers asked for save travel, great community time, and growth to take place!
3. We’ll select our leaders for 2016-2017 in April – we’re praying that God will compel great leaders to apply and that we will have wisdom in the selection process.
4. Unity and reconciliation among students on campus and that GCF would be a catalyst for this.