Saturday, March 26, 2016

Lent -- or ReLentless?

On February 18, I noted that "there's no time like Lent to be exploring the Bible and Christian discipleship from United Methodist, Roman Catholic and Southern Baptist perspectives. Oh, I think I also have a Presbyterian viewpoint in my daily reading. I am grateful for those who share their faith and experience and knowledge. And I am grateful to God for helping me hear and respond."

Well, here it is the day before Easter, and I have to admit that long before Holy Week began, I had dropped daily reading of any of those devotionals. All I remained consistent on was my year-round daily readings from Jesus Calling, the Upper Room and Craig Denison's First 15. 

I didn't give up anything for Lent nor did I add a spiritual discipline. 

So perhaps I should feel as if I've failed. 

But I do not.  

This has been a Lent like no other for me.

My "discipline" was of a forced nature, resulting from temporary changes in my life following emergency abdominal surgery on Jan. 8.

Although it was not part of the post-op plan, I've mostly worked from home since the surgery. I took a break from many of the daily and weekly commitments and responsibilities I've been trying to fulfill for most of my adult life. I've often felt guilty or ashamed, as if I'm not doing enough. 

But as the spiritual journey of Lent comes to a close and I also am anticipating the next step of my physical recovery, I see how this has evolved into a time of not only physical but spiritual healing. 

Since August, I've been working toward restoration to wholeness after coming to terms with some sin-sickness of my soul. There has been progress and healing. And I had a plan for how it would continue. 

But my plans aren't always God's plans. 

Maybe God allowed this physical interruption to help bring about a different focus as spiritual and emotional healing were needed. Seems a lot of important things Gene and I were trying to do got sidelined, but maybe the lesson or takeaway is to remind us to plan and do what we can, but to always put our faith and trust in God, loving him and trusting him and thanking him and serving/obeying him. 

As happens at least half of the time for me when the contemplation of Lent gives way to the celebration of Easter, this is a year when I know I still have a lot of work to do. 

I don't recall Lamentations 3 as being a key part of the Holy Week liturgy in the past, but it has come up several times this year. And how grateful I am for it. 
 "The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness" (Lamentations 3:22-23). 

So, as I prepare to again celebrate the gift of God who gave His only Son to die on a cross  to pay the debt for my sins -- and did not let Him stay in the grave -- my heart is filled with gratitude but also, I pray, humility. Now if I can just take the next step, to obedience. Not my will, but Yours, Lord, I pray. 

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