Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Rough Cloth and Ashes: Lent 2015

Lent.  In years past when areas of my life felt more significantly unstructured, I've often looked forward to the Lenten season as an opportunity to get something right, to show that - if only for these forty days - I can take control of my life and move it in the right direction.

But, if I can be honest, this year it just seems exhausting.  As I contemplated a lenten sacrifice, there didn't seem to be anything I could give up that would help me move closer to God.  The things I considered actually all felt like it would only pull me closer into myself, to prove I could control my stomach, my desires, my money.  Maybe my heart just isn't into this year, I don't know.

Then, as God often does, He came subtly screaming at me through the words of Daniel 9:3-4 (NCV):

Then I turned to the Lord God and prayed and asked him for help. To show my sadness, I fasted, put on rough cloth, and sat in ashes. I prayed to the Lord my God and told him about all of our sins. I said, “Lord, you are a great God who causes fear and wonder. You keep your agreement of love with all who love you and obey your commands."
This seems to me the whole point of a time like Lent.  We turn to God and ask Him to help us because we are clearly not able to do it ourselves.  We show the sadness of our situation and cry out to Him, confessing to Him our sins.

So while I mourn the darkness of myself, I also rejoice in brightness of my God.  And I just don't feel like I have give up sweets, soda, fast food, or Facebook to do that this year.

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