Holy Week Has Begun!


"'Turn to me now, while there is time. Give me your hearts. Come with fasting, weeping, and mourning. Don’t tear your clothing in your grief, but tear your hearts instead.' Return to the Lord your God, for he is merciful and compassionate, slow to get angry and filled with unfailing love. He is eager to relent and not punish. Who knows? Perhaps he will give you a reprieve, sending you a blessing instead of this curse. Perhaps you will be able to offer grain and wine to the Lord your God as before." - Joel 2:12-14

As I write this, we are in the home stretch. It seems like a good opportunity to stop and ask , "What’s the point of the Lenten season?"

Over the years, I have engaged in a lot of to-ing and fro-ing in my family, wondering about what discipline to take on for Lent—what to do, what to give up, and so on. I’m sure the drill is familiar to you. It’s amazing how much energy it can take to identify and then try to follow some rule of abstinence [fasting] or new behavior [feasting]. Should I give up shopping, sweets, social media, or caffeine? Should I take on a Lenten class, scripture reading, more prayer or a change in attitude?

What shift are you looking for this Lenten season, as we head to recalling yet again the death and resurrection? I think about the people of Jerusalem—moving from jubilant welcome on this Palm Sunday to equally loud calls of "Crucify him!" by week’s end. I wonder how different we would have been, had we been there.

I don’t know about you, but I am weary and heartsick from the daily onslaught of yet more children shot, more refugees thwarted, more revelations of corruption and abuses of power. If the Lord would return today, I would be right there waving a palm branch, carrying a sign and shouting “Hosanna in the Highest. Blessed is He who come in the name of the Lord.”

What Lent calls me to do is to pay attention to where my own understanding of what things should look like blinds me to what God’s preferred future for us looks like. And let’s face it—God has a long and established track record of messing with our expectations. Don’t believe me? Spend a little time rereading Luke-Acts, for starters.

I hope this Lent provides you with a chance to attend to your soul. If it hasn’t yet, good news! You’ve still got a few days. Grace abounds! May it work on us, as we do what we are called by God to do!

Loving God, You have heard my complaints, my impatience. Sometimes I become frightened when I move away from You. Guide my heart back to You. Help me to think beyond my own wants and to desire only to do Your will. Thank You for the many blessings in my life. Let me feel Your presence today, this Holy Week and on into Eastertide. Amen.
Mar 25 2018