Something has shifted. God is calling me deeper still, and I find myself resisting, tempted to give in to the old ways, the remnants of the old self . . . that rotting carcass of a person whose habits don’t die easily. I’m still so drawn to the temporary, the tangible, the shiny. I need lent this year. Desperately.
A dear friend made a timely observation yesterday saying, “You are the kind of person who likes to check things off your list, and this . . . tendency to wander and be distracted from Him, you can’t check that off.” The thorn in my side, if you will. (2 Cor. 12:7)
Truthfully, this is my favorite time of year. I do love Christmas: the wonder, the mystery, the hope . . . but Easter, oh Easter. Easter is the fulfillment of the promise. The hope fulfilled in all the beauty, gore, wretchedness and lavish love of the cross. At Christmas, Christ comes and the world takes a deep breath, “Hope, sweet hope.” At Easter the world either turns its face away from or falls face-down in front of what my pastor calls the worst and best news – the cross. The cross is the worst news in that our sin really is THAT bad. It is the best news in that He really did pay the price for it, ONCE and for ALL. It is horror and love all wrapped up in a singular moment.
A couple of days ago, as I’m doing my study for Lent – I read about the King who is coming in John 12. He rides into the city on the back of a young donkey, and the people spread out palm branches and their own coats before Him shouting, “Hosanna! The King is coming!”
Does that take anyone else’s breath away?
Let’s journey together, friends, this season of Lent as we celebrate the coming of the Lord. Let’s turn our faces to the cross and be drawn to it this year. Let’s be changed. Let’s do what a dear friend of mine calls the narrowing. . . . as a praise and worship band from my camp days used to sing:
“Just Jesus and nothing more.”