As we near the completion of two weeks in Lent, I’m noticing a few things about myself. Maybe they’re true for you too.
First, Lent is doing its work. If you’ll recall, on Ash Wednesday I called us all to the observance of a holy Lent by prayer, fasting, giving, repentance, self-denial, self-examination, and reading and meditating on God’s holy word (see Book of Common Prayer, p. 265). And if you’ve mindfully engaged in just one or two of these practices Lent is doing its work. Granted, it’s the Holy Spirit who is working on you, but by entering into Lent, you’re creating space for the Spirit to do so.
I’ve noticed how dear the word of God is. St. Paul urges the Colossians to let the word of Christ dwell in them richly (Col 3:16). I’ve been surprised again by the power of the word; and having turned down the noise in much of my life, I now have space to hear more clearly that word and let it wash over me. Thanks be to God!
Secondly, Lent’s work is reminding me sinful I am. As God’s word washes over me, as I grow still in meditating upon his word and just waiting in his presence, my patterns of sin become more evident. Today at Morning Prayer (every Wednesday at 8:15 am in Lent) we read the parable of the sower and were reminded that so often the “cares of the world, the deceitfulness of riches, and the desire for things” can choke out the word of God. Yes, I’m raising my hand. That’s me.
And lastly, as a result of these things, I’m reminded how deep, how wide, how wide and how long is the love of God in Christ Jesus. When I’m reminded of my sinfulness, I’m tempted to wallow in shame and self-pity. But Jesus, who went into the wilderness before us and goes with us even now, didn’t die so I could manage my sin with shame. He died to set me free, to lavish the love of God Almighty on me and every other person in this world. So acknowledging my sin, repenting from it, I then stop and breath and listen and allow the love of God, our Father, Abba, to wash over me. He does not treat us as our sins deserve but remembers we are dust (see Psalm 103).
I hope Lent is doing its work in you. I hope that the Father who sees in secret has begun rewarding you. That the Holy Spirit, the very life of God in us, around us, has filled you afresh and anew, that even as you experience lack in earthly things, the riches of heaven abound in your heart and mind. And that the Son, who was courageous and considered equality with God something not to be exploited but humbled himself and made himself obedient to death on a cross, will bless you with shouts of joy and blessing this wilderness season.
Gratefully yours on the journey,