Lent is not only an opportunity to take on a new spiritual discipline, but it is an opportunity to be reminded of how much we all need Jesus. The Lenten season goes deeper than remembering our need for forgiveness.
During this season, it is right to focus on how much we need God. It is even right to give up certain things to enhance our focus and discipline ourselves. By giving up those certain things, our focus is heightened. That focus calls us to embrace this truth: God has invited us to be in Christ.
Through prayerful reflection, we can reclaim the freedom we have received. Lent is not just for reminding us of our need for forgiveness, but also for reminding us of our calling. This season reminds us to focus on what we have been saved for. We are freed to love each other.
Somewhere in between our first and last breath, we lose the ability to become extraordinary, mistaking blending in and ordinariness as the pathway for success.
It’s when we discover the beauty of our brokenness that we can imagine the person we are yet to become. God uses our life for purpose, not because of who we are but because of who we are not.
“Roger explains, ‘Although always powerful and moving, the end result of The Painting Table is not the painting that is created. It is the conversation, sharing, and listening that takes place around the table. While there is grief, sadness, and loss, there is also hope. There is an opportunity for celebration as we gather together, break bread, talk, and are welcomed. Whether through cooking, painting, or Eucharist, we come together to remember.'”
“When the Joy Runs Out” by Micha Boyett:
“The story of Jesus is always shocking and usually begins in the simple places. I sit in the rain-soaked school-drop-off lane with a line full of other, ordinary people in cars.
“God adds water to empty jars, undoes molecules, and the outcome is absurd and beautiful. We are invited to live the narrative of resurrection. God crushed and poured out. The one come from water, brought back as wine.
“Here. Right now, in my unimpressive, ordinary morning: This is where Jesus takes my worn out empty self and changes the molecules. The miracle is happening.”
“And that is exactly the problem with the culture we are standing inside of today: we are constantly dictated by people that tell us that bravery is Elsewhere. And beauty is Elsewhere. And life, or a life you can actually be proud of, is Elsewhere. And Elsewhere is just a flimsy little measure we never plan to reach but it does its justice in keeping us from showing up to the life we’ve been given for this moment. Elsewhere is just a defense mechanism that allows you to keep your fists clenched and your heart not open to what life could look like when you grant it the permission to take your heart and run with it.”
To finish out this week’s links, here is a prayer from Thomas Merton:
A Prayer of Trust by Thomas Merton
My Lord God, I have no idea where I am going.
I do not see the road ahead of me.
I cannot know for certain where it will end.
Nor do I really know myself,
and the fact that I think that I am following your will
does not mean that I am actually doing so.
But I believe that the desire to please you does in fact please you.
And I hope that I have that desire in all that I am doing.
I hope that I will never do anything apart from that desire.
And I know that if I do this, you will lead me by the right road
though I may know nothing about it.
Therefore will I trust you always
though I may seem to be lost and in the shadow of death.
I will not fear, for you are ever with me,
and you will never leave me to face my perils alone.