"As a father has compassion on his children,
so the LORD has compassion on those who fear Him.
For He knows our frame;
He is mindful that we are dust." ~ Psalm 103:13-14
The Lenten season begins with Ash Wednesday, this coming Wednesday.
We still have Monday to take on, hopefully with style and grace.
Then there's Fat Tuesday... go a head, overindulge a bit, laugh a lot.
Because then there's Ash Wednesday...
A solemn affair.
For the next 40 days, plus, we don sackcloth and ashes. We fast, we reflect, and we remember. We prepare ourselves for Holy Week.
Wait a minute...
In no way do I want to diminish or demean the solemnity of the occasion, nor would I want to step on one of the most widely practiced traditions of global Christianity.
"...For dust you are, and to dust you shall return." ~ Genesis 3:19b
There's no getting around it.
Lent is something I was raised to take on with intention, sincerity, and a humble heart.
The practice of setting aside a comfort or indulgence or two to focus on the sacrifice to come was part of my childhood and will be part of my tomorrow's tomorrow's tomorrow.
What if we GET to?
Sure, if we want to see Lent and fasting and sacrifice as a have to we are certainly each entitled to our own approach.
But, maybe just this year, we could try something new... What if we get to set aside whatever it is we feel is a sacrifice, to honor and eagerly anticipate every promise that comes hand in hand with the resurrection?
It makes me a little giddy to think about the beauty of the kid-in-a-candy-store excitement that comes with reframing the season as an opportunity to anticipate, rather than a painful lengthy sacrifice leading to the cross.
Again, I see and understand the power of coming at it that way.
There's no question the crucifixion and all it entails is a critical part of the story, it would be nonsensical to imply anything else.
But, when people place the bulk of the focus of their faith on the realities of a gruesome and brutal death one of the worst and most horrific torture devices mankind has ever known, I have to wonder if that was the point or the plan.
Again, a critical piece of the puzzle, no doubt.
But, the beauty and grace of our faith resides in the realities of JOY coming in the morning.
Our redemption and salvation is in the Resurrection and the power that comes with the Sonrise.
The darkest moment is just before dawn, and without the darkness we cannot fully grasp the gifts of the Light. That is indeed important.
What if, just this year, we get to experience Lent and the season of preparation in a whole new way? What if we choose excitement and eager anticipation?
Without the stone rolling away, it would just have been one more Roman death.
It is the joy of God showing up in a most surprising way that is the critical element.
Jesus told His disciples what would take place, but they didn't get it.
It wasn't until the Sonrise that they understood.
What if we choose to focus on and bask in that Sonrise this Lenten season?
Maybe you don't practice Lent at all, and that's okay too. But, what better opportunity to walk in and with His grace and glory and peace and love and power and boundless promises and miraculous presence?
When the power bill comes, sometimes we grumble and get a little feisty about sending that money off and away.
But this time, what if we give thanks for the opportunity to pay the piper because we are so very blessed to have Light?
What if this year, we get to set aside whatever we choose to set aside?
What if we choose to bask in the Sonlight while we await the Sonrise?
I hope and pray we all take the challenge and are drawn nearer to Him in the endeavor. Thank You, Abba, Thank You for sending your Son to rise, so we may be brought before You, so we may know You.
Thank You for helping us to shine Your light with a boost of Resurrection Power, all our days. Amen.
"... You cannot fast as you do today and have your voice be heard on high. Is this the fast I have chosen: a day for a man to deny himself, to bow his head like a reed, and to spread out sackcloth and ashes? Will you call this a fast and a day acceptable to the LORD? Isn’t this the fast that I have chosen: to break the chains of wickedness, to untie the cords of the yoke, to set the oppressed free and tear off every yoke? Isn’t it to share your bread with the hungry, to bring the poor and homeless into your home, to clothe the naked when you see him, and not to turn away from your own flesh and blood? Then your light will break forth like the dawn, and your healing will come quickly. Your righteousness will go before you, and the glory of the LORD will be your rear guard. Then you will call, and the LORD will answer; you will cry out, and He will say, ‘Here I am.’..." ~ Isaiah 58:4b-9a
"Therefore I urge you, brothers, on account of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God, which is your spiritual service of worship. Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what is the good, pleasing, and perfect will of God." ~ Romans 12:1-2
"To everything there is a season, and a time for every purpose under heaven: a time to be born and a time to die, a time to plant and a time to uproot, a time to kill and a time to heal, a time to break down and a time to build, a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance, a time to cast away stones and a time to gather stones together, a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing, a time to search and a time to count as lost, a time to keep and a time to discard, a time to tear and a time to mend, a time to be silent and a time to speak, a time to love and a time to hate, a time for war and a time for peace." ~ Ecclesiastes 3:1-8
What if this year, we get to?
May the Good Lord bless you and keep you, friends... always, in all ways. Amen.
Bonus song of praise... ♥
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