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Training Disciples: Lent Week 1

Bless the Lent We Actually Have

by author Kate Bowler

This week: “Blessed Are the Imperfect”

Song: Light the Fire
Verse 1
     I stand to praise you, but I fall to my knees.
     My spirit is willing, but my flesh, it is so weak.
     Light the fire, in my weary soul.
     Fan the flames, make my spirit whole.
     Lord, you know where I’ve been,
     so light the fire in my heart again.
Verse 2
     I feel your arms around me as your healing begins.
     You breathe life through me, like a mighty rushing wind.
Repeat Chorus, Verse 1, Chorus
     So light the fire in my heart again.

Theme of the week: Our culture tells us that if we just try a little harder, perfection is possible. The trouble is that we keep on being human—with all our flaws and foibles. Lent is a season of turning from all that we know needs to be changed, not by means of a new self-improvement project, but through God’s understanding of our sin and our flawed condition and the blessing of God’s forgiveness, guidance, and comforting presence.

Bible reading: Matthew 4:1-11 
Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tested by the devil. He fasted forty days and forty nights, and afterward he was famished. The tempter came and said to him, “If you are the Son of God, command these stones to become loaves of bread.” But he answered, “It is written, ‘One does not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.’ ”

Then the devil took him to the holy city and placed him on the pinnacle of the temple, saying to him, “If you are the Son of God, throw yourself down, for it is written, ‘He will command his angels concerning you,’ and ‘On their hands they will bear you up, so that you will not dash your foot against a stone.’ ” Jesus said to him, “Again it is written, ‘Do not put the Lord your God to the test.’ ”

Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory, and he said to him, “All these I will give you, if you will fall down and worship me.” Then Jesus said to him, “Away with you, Satan! for it is written, ‘Worship the Lord your God, and serve only him.’ ” Then the devil left him, and suddenly angels came and waited on him.

Bible reading: Psalm 32
Happy are they whose transgressions are forgiven, and whose sin is put away!
Happy are they to whom the Lord imputes no guilt, and in whose spirit there is no guile!

While I held my tongue, my bones withered away, because of my groaning all day long.
For your hand was heavy upon me day and night; my moisture was dried up as in the heat of summer.

Then I acknowledged my sin to you, and did not conceal my guilt. I said, “I will confess my transgressions to the Lord.” Then you forgave me the guilt of my sin.
Therefore all the faithful will make their prayers to you in time of trouble; when the great waters overflow, they shall not reach them.

You are my hiding-place; you preserve me from trouble; you surround me with shouts of deliverance.
“I will instruct you and teach you in the way that you should go; I will guide you with my eye.

Do not be like horse or mule, which have no understanding; who must be fitted with bit and bridle, or else they will not stay near you.”
Great are the tribulations of the wicked; but mercy embraces those who trust in the Lord.

Be glad, you righteous, and rejoice in the Lord; shout for joy, all who are true of heart.

Readings: From The Lives We Actually Have; 100 Blessings for Imperfect Days by Kate Bowler and Jessica Richie

  • “For an unfinishable day” (p180)
  • “For when you want more” (p186)

Reflecting on the readings

You are invited to quietly reflect on the readings by using the following activities, or you may silently meditate on the bible readings or write your reflections on how God’s love makes you whole and holy, regardless of your imperfections.

Moving with Christ against the current: “In this culture of more, more, more, make me less,” the blessing prays. Fill in the blanks below with your own answers to how you want to move against our culture’s exhausting pressures to be MORE:

In this culture of perfection, make me


In this culture of effortless success, make me


In this culture of judgment, make me


In this culture of _____________________________________,

make me ___________________________________________.

Self-portrait, imperfect and beloved: Draw a self-portrait (it doesn’t have to be good!). Around it, write down the things that make you, you. Maybe your kindness or stubbornness (for better or worse) or the way your nose crinkles when you smile. Take time to notice the humanity in your gifts and imperfections (which are sometimes gifts, if we look close enough!).


Song: Lord Fill My Life
Part I
     Lord, fill my life with you alone.
     Empty myself of all that’s my own.
     Lord, fill my life with you alone.
     Jesus, keep my eyes on you.
Part II
     Help me stand! Help me stand for what’s right.
     Help me walk! Help me walk in the light.
     Help me run! Help me run for the prize.
     Jesus, keep my eyes on you. Jesus, keep my eyes on you.
Repeat Part I, Part II, Part I
     Jesus, keep my eyes, keep my eyes,
     Jesus, keep my eyes on you.

Thank you for joining us! Please tune in again next Wednesday for another evening of scripture, reflection, and prayer!

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