Got Lent Yet?

Yesterday after church a parishioner shared his Lenten discipline with me.  “Powerful stuff,” he said.  The discipline is a guided 40-day journey with Dietrich Bonhoeffer.   The book was published by Augsburg press in 2007 but you can also access the journey online.

Here’s Day 1 of the journey:

Day 1

Those who follow Jesus’ commandment entirely, who let Jesus’ yoke rest on them without resistance, will find the burden they must bear to be light. In the gentle pressure of this yoke they will receive the strength to walk the right path without becoming weary.…Where will the call to discipleship lead those who follow it? What decisions and painful separations will it entail? We must take this question to him who alone knows the answer. Only Jesus Christ, who bids us follow him, knows where the path will lead. But we know that it will be a path full of mercy beyond measure. Discipleship is joy.

Biblical Wisdom

Come to me, all who are weary and heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me; for I am gentle and humble of heart, and you will find rest for your soul. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light. Matthew 11:28–30

Questions to Ponder

  • What is Jesus’ “commandment” that we are to follow? (See John 15:12)
  • If this commandment is Jesus’ “yoke,” how might we be changed if we bear it without resistance?
  • Why might following Jesus’ commandment lead to tough “decisions and painful separations”?

Psalm Fragment

Make me to know your ways, O Lord;
teach me your paths.
Lead me in your truth, and teach me,
for you are the God of my salvation;
for you I wait all day long. Psalm 25:4–5

Journal Reflections

  • To be a disciple is not just to believe in Jesus, it is to follow Jesus. In your journal, reflect on the ways in which you are presently following Jesus.
  • Do you experience your discipleship as “joy”? Is the “burden” of your discipleship “light”?
  • Do you sense there are places Jesus might want to lead you where you would rather not go? If so, where are they and what is holding you back?


Pray specifically for family, friends, and colleagues that they might clearly hear the call to discipleship (which is the call to love and justice), and that they might experience following Jesus’ commandment as joy in the concrete realities of their lives.

Prayer for Today

Lord Jesus, only you know where my path will lead, but I trust that, even if I do not know either the way or the destination, you are with me and before me, and I follow you with joy.

Powerful stuff indeed: A reflection, brief scripture readings, journaling suggestions, intercessions and a prayer for the day.  Perfect, I’d say.  If you haven’t quite found the right tool or discipline for your Lent this year this could be just right… powerful as they are if you only managed to observe a discipline such as the one outlined above for only a few days the spiritual rewards would be great!

Here’s a link to today’s online post:–_–

You can sign up to receive the discipline by email at the top of the page.

Here’s a link to the main page if you’d like to buy the book for your shelf.  You’ll see that you can also journey with the likes of Gerard Manley Hopkins, Maya Angelou, Kathleen Norris, Martin Luther, and others!: http://

Happy Monday and Holy Lent,


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4 Responses to Got Lent Yet?

  1. The cross can be very hard to bear. Jesus almost committed suicide. This is true: “the disciples thought he was going to do away with Himself.” And “how long must I endure this adulterous generation1” and “In Gethsemane the sweat rolled down his face like drops of blood.”

  2. Barbara Dirks says:

    Just ordered the book.

    Sent from my iPhone


  3. Eileen says:

    What a good, prayerful Lenten exercise. I’ll print out each day from the site. Thanks for the guidance and the words, Father Jim!

  4. But the pain of the Cross is very very real. What about those who sit in hospitals without arms and legs? What about those who live in brothels, fifteen year olds, servicing sex customers day and night 250 at a time? What about those who walk in the streets of North Korea as orphans, starved children and freezing, with only their tears? The service to Christ is to pick up the cross. Yes, the acceptance of his love is tender but His work in the world can torture and kill you. Christ underwent a horrible agony and His invitation to us is there. And yet when we love Him and the poor our lives take on such distinct meaning in this blasphemous and senseless universe that you wouldn’t want anything else.

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