[#pictureLent] Feb. 25: Notice

By Judi New
First UMC, Lakeland, FL

First, read Psalm 119:18

Many things are precious about spring aren’t there? The green leaves begin to fully return. The sky seems a bit bluer. Is that even possible in Florida to get more blue?! And the beautiful blossoms of color appear around us. 

As my two young sons and I drive around town, it is remarkable the beauty that my sons notice and point out on a regular basis. Their eyes always seem to be opened to details and beauty.

“Look at that pink tree, Mom!”

“Did you see the sparkles on the lake, Mom?!”  

I marvel at their attention to the simple things that my busy-mind doesn’t always notice.  But they notice.

As we draw nearer to the Cross this Lenten season, I hope that we make it a point to notice all that God is doing around us. I pray that our eyes will be opened to the wondrous beauty that is before us. I pray that our eyes will be open to the wondrous things that God has taught us, that all points back to the Cross: loving God and loving others with all that we are and all that we have.

How can we love our neighbors more fully this season? How can we love God more fully this season?

To grow closer to Jesus Christ, some people choose to give up something during Lent like dark chocolate or time on Facebook. And then some choose to take up something like intentional, daily devotionals or giving time to a local mission. Whichever you choose to do, let it be an opportunity for you to grow closer in your relationship with Jesus Christ. Whatever it is that draws you nearer to the Cross, I pray it is something that opens your eyes that much wider to the glorious love and mercy that God has for you.

From noticing the beauty of your neighbor, to admiring the wondrous gifts that God blesses us with, to paying attention to the numerous ways that we can be a reflection of God’s grace and love into the world, may our eyes be opened and focused on the Cross.

Prayer: Dear Jesus, our hearts are opened to the outpouring of Your Holy Spirit. We want to know you more. We want to love you more. We want our lives to make an impact on your Heavenly Kingdom here on earth as it is in Heaven. Help us to fully realize the power that this Lenten season has for our lives and for our neighbors all around us, all around the world. From our neighbor right next door to half way around the world, may our eyes be opened to the ways you call each of us to Your Christian service. Open our hearts that much wider, O God. Open our ears to the unique calling you have for each of us. Open our eyes to You. We love you. Amen.

Discussion Questions

  1. What are some ways that you can do this very week to serve your neighbor as you look around your community?
  2. Are there opportunities that God is revealing to you that through this Lenten season you are open to exploring more?
  3. Where have you seen God’s love today?