Lent is a time of repentance and remembrance.
Remembering that we can do nothing outside of His Grace and power in our lives. It is the enfolding of His sweet Spirit which places us into the depth of the life-saving love flowing from His heart into ours.
Books, a passion I tend to find hard to ignore, are a piled upon my desk and in my Nook to assist us in this journey. Yet, I smile as I type because the only book I need is THE BOOK. His Word to be drawn into each day in reverent submission.
Today as we sat together reading through the book Amon's Adventure, by Arnold Ytreeide, we were drawn back to Jerusalem and life through the eyes of a 13-year-old young man named, Amon. This book continues the Advent series by the same author, Jotham's Journey. We have loved to spend our weeks preparing for Christ's birth reading these stories. Now, we can prepare for the most significant event in history in the same way. It just draws them in.
We are all drawn into the details of the temple as the young man who now has the privilege of going into the Court of Israel. The ritual cleansing and the pious observation of tradition are amazing to read about. There was such a desire, through the eyes of this young man, to get as close to God as he possibly could.
Of course this story is meant to take the reader on the journey that Jesus walked as he carried the cross of our sorrow upon His back. He bore the weight of our shame and sickness; He willingly took our sin upon Himself... because we could not bear it ourselves.
Today we read from Psalm 51.
Have mercy on me, O God,according to your unfailing love;
according to your great compassion blot out my transgressions.
Wash away all my iniquityand cleanse me from my sin.
For I know my transgressions,and my sin is always before me.
Against you, you only, have I sinned
and done what is evil in your sight,
so that you are proved right when you speak
and justified when you judge.
Surely I was sinful at birth,
sinful from the time my mother conceived me.
Surely you desire truth in the inner parts;
you teach me wisdom in the inmost place.
Cleanse me with hyssop, and I will be clean;
wash me, and I will be whiter than snow.
Let me hear joy and gladness;
let the bones you have crushed rejoice.
Hide your face from my sinsand blot out all my iniquity.
Create in me a pure heart,
O God,and renew a steadfast spirit within me.
Do not cast me from your presence
or take your Holy Spirit from me.
Restore to me the joy of your salvation
and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me.
Then I will teach transgressors your ways,
and sinners will turn back to you.
Save me from blood guilt,
O God,the God who saves me,
and my tongue will sing of your righteousness.
O Lord, open my lips,
and my mouth will declare your praise.
You do not delight in sacrifice,
or I would bring it;
you do not take pleasure in burnt offerings.
The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit;
a broken and contrite heart,O God,
you will not despise.
In your good pleasure make Zion prosper;
build up the walls of Jerusalem.
Then there will be righteous sacrifices,
whole burnt offerings to delight you;
then bulls will be offered on your altar.
There is a cry in our heart for mercy and cleansing.
We spoke of the need for repentance in our lives and an understanding of the selfishness which is hidden in our hearts. Selfishness is a form of idolatry where we place ourselves in the position only meant for God.
As we read from His Word today and pondered the truth of what it means....I was overwhelmed. What a privilege to share this truth with my children. What a joy to tell them of His love for them. What a blessing to be a witness to the working of His light in their hearts. What a miracle to see repentance begin in the heart of your child and to touch you to the depth of your own core.
My son says, "Mom... is this to be a time of fasting?"
I respond, “Yes, Son... it is."
He bows his head and quietly waits.
We pray. We ask for His Grace and Mercy. We seek the cleansing power attained only by the covering of His blood over us.
We look to the Cross, where victory was won; yet we also see the well-traveled path He walked for us. On this path he bore a burden which was heavy and unyielding. It was pain-filled and suffering. There were tears and prayers offered during that march. Prayers which the annointed Christ fulfilled in ways we have yet to truly understand.
I lift my head and I see my child's face enlightened by a truth. He makes a choice to sacrifice something he loves to draw closer to God and I am humbled.
He asks me pointedly, "What will you give up, Mom?"
In my head I count the cost.. What can I give up that is worth all I can gain in finding more of His Presence in my life.
I give up my pride, my need to know. I give up my urge to have control over my day, in essence my life. I live for this day, this hour, this second.... I yield to the Holy Spirit and release the strangle-hold this earthly life has craftily attached itself to me.
I surrender all that He asks for more of Him. And I wait...
Though traditions are no exchange for the truth we find in Christ, they remind us to Celebrate! Celebrate His Love.CelebrateHis Life! Celebrate Jesus!
How are you celebrating Lent? Here are some of our favorite books:
Amon's Adventure http://www.jothamsjourney.com/
Devotions for Lent http://www.amazon.com/Devotions-Lent-Holy-Bible-Mosaic/dp/1414335814#_
40 Days with Jesus by Sarah Young
Journey to the Cross by Helen Haidle
Ann Voskamp from www.aholyexperience.com has a wonderful ebook called "Trail to the Tree" with devotions and reflections on this time of reflection.