Have you ever experienced a time when you learned a new word and then started to notice it was everywhere? It was in the book you were reading; it was written on billboards. It was the answer to a question on Jeopardy!
It’s kind of like the photography book by Drew Barrymore, Find It in Everything. She simply took photographs of objects that were heart-shaped. While it is proof that if a celebrity does something, it is a guaranteed sell, it does have a nice sentiment behind it. She started to notice all these heart-shaped things around her. Her book reinforces that when something is in the forefront of your mind, you notice it all over.
At least that’s how I’ve find it is with Lent.
Since I know I have committed to posting articles about Lent each Tuesday, I have been trying to keep my eye open for Lent connections.
(Obviously I have been looking for more than gas stations with signs out front that read: “Lent Specials Available,” but I have seen plenty of them as well.)
But the essential truth is: when we situate our lives around Christ, we find him in almost everything.
I think that’s one of the key things to remember about Lent. It is less about what you are giving up; it was never meant to be legalistic. Instead, it is about opening your eyes to the grace all around you. God is working in the middle of whatever situation you find yourself.
Not hopefully. Not perhaps or if all goes well. But Amen! Amen into the darkness! In fear and doubt I dare to take another step. Not because I understand, not because I am sure, not because faith makes it any easier. But because within the darkness I have heard deep call lovingly to deep, and my heart cries out in answer to the mystery of faith: Amen!
“In which this is for the ones who stay” by Sarah Bessey:
I hope we change. I hope we grow. Let this be a time of reckoning perhaps, a time of soul-searching. I hope we push against the darkness and let the light in and breathe into the kingdom come. I hope we become a refuge for the weary and the pilgrim, for the child and the aged, for the strong-too-long and may we all live like we are loved.
I pray we all become a bit more inclined to listen, to pray, to wait.
I went for a walk in the wilderness for many years, and I still love it out there. I still like the fresh wind in my hair. I go for a walk every now and again, I hear God clearly in the wild spaces. I’ve always liked a little room to breathe. But I came home. I always come home.
“What We’ve Got to Tell Kids About Living Extraordinary” by Ann Voskamp:
We don’t need more things. We need more meaning. God. is. here.
The meaning unfolds in the ordinary Wow. Thank You. Yes.
“The Joy of Forgiveness and the Seven Deadly Sins” by Jim Wallis
Which is why Lent is such an important season on the Christian calendar. It is an opportunity to pause and reflect, to examine our hearts, and to acknowledge the ways in which we have fallen short. But we don’t confess our failures to a public waiting to crucify us. Instead, we confess our sins to one who loves us and was willing to be crucified in order to reconcile us once and for all.
I didn’t frown at her. I didn’t chide or criticize her, and I resisted the urge to fret over the fact that she had a rather large pimple on her nose—at age 42. I felt more tender about her than I usually do. I thought to myself, I need to love that woman better.
What have you been reading during this Lenten season?