a-Lenten-prayer-a-day, day 13, Wednesday, March 15, 2017

my-hands-2-27-17Note: As a personal, spiritual discipline, I write a prayer for each of the forty days of Lent; each petition focusing on a theme, truly, relating to a care or concern weighing on my mind and heart, at times, vexing my soul and spirit…

On following, not worshiping Jesus (in the spirit of Verna Josephine Dozier):[1] O Jesus, You came amongst us, a Messiah without a messiah-complex, not to be served, but rather to serve through Your willing sacrifice of Your Self unto death for our sake.[2] In this, You, as my way, my truth, my life,[3] call me to follow You, not to worship You in respectful admiration, even reverent adulation. Thus, when my piety would have me only stand at the foot of Your cross, staring upward at Your broken Body in wondrous appreciation, by Your Spirit, send me away to follow You into the world to give my self away in sacrificial service. Amen.


[1] Verna Josephine Dozier 2 (c 1995)Dr. Verna Josephine Dozier (1917-2006), a nationally known religious educator, biblical scholar, author, and one of my finest mentors, in her book, The Dream of God, which she described as the creation in harmonious relation between God and humankind, wrote of the distinction between “Worship (as) setting Jesus on a pedestal, distancing him, enshrining…him in liturgies, stained glass windows, biblical translations, medallions, pilgrimages to places where he walked…Following him is doing what he did…Following is discipleship” (The Dream of God: A Call to Return, Cowley Publications, 1991, page 98).

[2] See Matthew 20.28 and Mark 10.45: Jesus said, “The Son of Man came not to be served, but to serve, and to give his life a ransom for many.”

[3] A reference to John 14.6a: Jesus said, “I am the way and the truth and the life.”

2 thoughts on “a-Lenten-prayer-a-day, day 13, Wednesday, March 15, 2017

  1. I’ve said time and time again that I wish I’d met Verna!! I’m all for following and serving God, without worshipping. Following allows us “to observe and learn” from a person of their teachings and serving allows us to actual do something, hopefully putting into practice what we’ve learned from following.

    Worshipping doesn’t seem to do anything except put a person on a pedestal for others to gawk at. What good is that?? Who does that help? Not the worshipped or the worshipper. I don’t know many people who want to be put on a pedestal anyway (well ok maybe a couple of people)….following and serving fulfills us and in my opinion raises our spirits and maybe even the spirits of others!!

    Thanks and love to you Paul!!

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’m with you, Loretta. Though, as I thought about and wrote this prayer, I was (am!) conscious of disturbing those who value worship in its sincerest sense (I do, too!); that is, giving God the praise and love only God deserves. For this reason, I sought to make a distinction, using Verna’s characteristically direct language, between the worship that places someone (even Jesus!) on a pedestal so we can gaze st him and adore him, but never feel called to do anything and the worship of which Jesus speaks (“in Spirit and in truth”, which we’ll hear about in this Sunday’s gospel – John 4.5-42).

      Love you, always


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