Leslie’s Musings March-April 2020
Empty me of my self-sufficient ways and hopes and pour into me your spirit of repentance. Create within me the unquenchable desire to forgive even as I have been forgiven by you. Lead me to the depths of my heart, where I can ponder the nature of your holy love and the unbelievable happiness of freedom from sin.
~ From An Improbable Gift of Blessing, by Maren C. Tirabassi & Joan Jordan Grant
Lent is very tidy this year, starting on March 1. Welp, that’s not true. The date is correct, but Lent is never tidy. It’s a time of deep contemplation and sacrificial living, and there’s nothing tidy about that. As I mentioned recently, I force myself to confront my resentment every year. As I’ve aged, it has lessened, but really? Why won’t Jesus just excise that black spot out of my heart, like a skilled surgeon who cleans out a tumor? Why do I hold onto that particular sin so tightly?
It might be that sin is quite a bit like cancer cells—they are pernicious and often return, sometimes after years of clean scans. But at least I as a sinner have a choice of how I can deal with my sin. I choose to pray, contemplate, and confront. Sometimes my reaction is grace—toward the object of my resentment and myself. I have to lean on Jesus and follow where he leads me.
What do you need to sacrifice this Lent? Perhaps a fast from the usual suspects—chocolate, social media, or coffee—is helpful. But what really gets in the way of your discipleship? Maybe one of the seven deadly sins is your obstacle to God’s grace. Take time, every day if you can, for quiet contemplation and prayer. Use a devotional first thing in the morning.
Lent allows us to face sin fearlessly. Although we must confess, when we repent God’s grace allows us a fresh start. Isn’t that amazing? Our sin, unless we reach back to take it up again (why do we do this?), is cleared away, just like dirty dishes after dinner. The Table is ready for another delicious meal to nourish us.
Like any transitional time, the work can be unpleasant, but necessary. We grow by looking fearlessly at our mistakes, repenting, moving on. Holy Week may be the hardest of that time, but without crucifixion, how can we receive the joy of Easter?
Our Wednesday soup and studies in the parlor will aid this journey, as we read the revised version of a beloved Presbyterian classic: Soul Feast: An Invitation to the Christian Spiritual Life. I hope you’ll join us at 6 each week, and sign up to make your favorite soup, as we learn and grow together.
Know how very much you are loved, beloved children of God. A blessed Lent (and Easter) to you.