Wednesday, February 17, 2021

Wacky Wednesday

It all began
with that shoe on the wall.
A shoe on the wall...?
Shouldn't be there at all!
(Wacky Wednesday, Dr. Seuss)

If you've read any of the other posts I've made here, you'll know that I don't often begin with a quote from something other than Scripture.  Again and again throughout my life, I've felt the Holy Spirit prompt me to commit myself to God.  In writing, that means my words are most always focused on His.

But we're coming off a wacky year, and I'm in a wacky mood.  And it just felt like a Wacky Wednesday kind of day.

Wacky because I've started a new part time job, in addition to my existing part time job, working as a tutor. Yesterday was my first shift.  I sat in my virtual classroom for two hours... all... by... myself.  Though I knew that was a very likely possibility, it was not the vision I had created in my head.

Wacky because I spent most of today attending to details for this weekend, our church's first service inside our sanctuary in almost a year.  Forty nine Sundays held outside or at home.

Wacky because I almost forgot it's Ash Wednesday. And even though my church does not traditionally celebrate Lent, we do usually have a special time together on Ash Wednesday. You can read my previous reflections on Ash Wednesday here: Rough Cloth and Ashes or Rainbow Offerings.

You might say that my lenten experience is begining with a shoe on the wall.

To Sacrifice or Not To Sacrifice?
Lent is always a little wacky for me.  Our denominational tradition does not encourage the lenten focus, but I know a growing number of believers who find the experience beneficial to their faith.  But when your church body doesn't practice the act collectively it becomes a bit of a spiritual landmine.  Mention your fast to the wrong person and you'll get a lecture about how we are not Catholic and God does does not demand a sacrifice from us.

I always want to remind them that God never really wanted sacrifice; He wanted obedience. Even in the era when animals were regularly being offered to God, it wasn't God's primary desire.  I want to open my Bible to 1 Samuel 15:22 and help them recall that the prophet said "to obey is better than to sacrifice." Saul, the King, would be dethroned for making sacrifices to God that He did not ask for.  

Oh, but there are sacrifices that God desires:
For You do not delight in sacrifice, otherwise I would give it;
You do not take pleasure in burnt offering.
The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit;
A broken and a contrite heart, God, You will not despise.
(Psalm 51:16-17, NASB)
God does not want a burnt offering.  He wants our hearts.  If a lenten sacrifice bring us back to Him, we should do it.

The Pattern of Fast and Feast
We love to celebrate the Christian feasts, Christmas and Easter.  We love the excitement and the tradition.  The joy.  But I'm not sure these days mean as much without also engaging in the fasts. The dark days.  The reflection and preparation.  The sorrow.

Many years ago, my husband and I went camping with a friend. We decided to explore some of the caves where we were staying. As excited as I was, I was also nervous about getting lost in our adventure. The farther we went into the cave, the smaller the light got until eventually it was the smallest it could be without disappearing. Our friend encouraged us to go farther, into total darkness. We compromised by making one single turn, stepping out of the light by only a few steps. That may have been one of the scariest moments of my life. We stood there a few moments until we were ready to leave, and I will never forget the joyous moment when I could see the light once again. For me, Lent is very much like that experience. It is a time remembering the darkness so that I can better celebrate the light.

Lent 2021
So here I am, still feeling wacky, but now a little retrospective too, wondering what Jesus would tell me if he were sitting at the desk across from mine.

I don't know. I really don't. But I can spend the next 40-ish days trying to figure it out.

Hey, God.
It's me.
How's it going?
Anything I need to pay attention to?
I'll be right here if You want to let me know...

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