We have gathered here in the time of Lent—a time of year in which the Church invites us to look closely at our lives and turn them toward the light of Christ. It is a fitting time of year to look closely at our institutional lives as well. A time to examine our "organizational consciences" like we examine our personal ones. A time to make sure that our institutions, too, are always turning toward the light of Christ.
As we begin our time of reflection and learning together, let us pause to listen to the scripture reading of the day, inviting us to turn toward that which can heal us.
A Reading from the book of Numbers
From Mount Hor the children of Israel set out on the Red Sea road…
But with their patience worn out by the journey, the people complained against God and Moses, "Why have you brought us up from Egypt to die in this desert, where there is no food or water? We are disgusted with this wretched food!"
In punishment the Lord sent among the people seraph serpents, which bit the people so that many of them died. Then the people came to Moses and said, "We have sinned in complaining against the Lord and you. Pray the Lord to take the serpents away from us."
So Moses prayed for the people, and the Lord said to Moses, "Make a saraph and mount it on a pole, and whoever looks at it after being bitten will live." Moses accordingly made a bronze serpent and mounted it on a pole, and whenever anyone who had been bitten by a serpent looked at the bronze serpent, he lived.
The Word of the Lord.
Thanks be to God
In response to the scripture, let us take a moment to ponder in silence our own response to the invitation to turn toward that which heals.
- What needs healing in your life at this time? What needs healing in your health system at this time? (pause for reflection)
- When have you felt invited to turn toward healing this Lent? What would this healing look like? What would it mean for you and your system to turn toward healing at this time? (pause for reflection)
O God of Moses, you led the Israelite people through the dangers of the desert and healed them of their affliction by helping them to keep their eyes turned toward you. In our gathering here these next several days, woo us and soothe us, turning our gaze toward you and your healing power. Bless our seminar and draw near, being part of the lectures, conversations, and meals that we share. O Lord, hear us as we pray:
Turn our eyes toward you.