For a vast number of people, the purpose of Lent is the preparation of the believer through prayer, doing penance, repentance of sins, almsgiving, atonement, and self-denial. It is all these things and it is also about drawing closer to God, which can include the letting go of things. On this first day of Lent my heart and mind were burdened with questions I could not and did not want to answer. My deepest desire was for someone to give me the answers I seek, it was through my wrestling of my heart and mind that I realized I could easily get answers from others but those answers and truths would not be mine to embrace. My stubbornness took hold of me and I allowed it to consume me for a time. I have held steady to a journey I started nearly 4 years ago and remain steadfast on that journey. I set out to find clarity, clarity in who I am, whom I belong to and clarity to my purpose. As I have traveled through life these past few years God has revealed to me moments of clear vibrant clarity and has caused me to search deeper into who I am. This search has led me to explore authenticity, in many ways it is the mirrored reflection of clarity. The one thing I am absolute about is that I am a child of God. I look back on the different stages of my life and I see confidence, bravery, strength and humility; I also see fear, vulnerability, sadness and loneliness. There has been and remains a constant in all of this, it is God! My parents sent my brother and I to Sunday school as toddlers, I have such fond memories of my teachers, from the Bible stories they taught me to the songs they taught me about Jesus and His love for me. I have continued being a part of church throughout my life, some years more active than others; nonetheless, my resolve is I am nothing without God. My hope is that through sharing my thoughts and my stories others will search for their own truths. The words I write here are my truths, I cannot give you answers to your questions just as I cannot take your truths and answers as mine. I hope that I am not confusing anyone, so to be clear…I cannot tell you the answers you seek, I cannot ask someone to give me answers…our truths must come from within. Clarity can only come from God. It is not my responsibility to judge you or anyone else. We all will stand before God one day and will answer for what we did or did not do. My desire is to not be a hinderance to anyone, to share hope and love, give respect not necessarily approval. As I watch the news or read the news, there is so much hate and division on a global scale but what’s worse is, its next door, it’s in our neighborhoods, our schools, our churches, our cities, our states our nation…do you see the rate of infection and infliction? We, our individual humanness does not want to be a clone identical to everyone else and we don’t want to stand out as being different either. When did the scales tilt and become so unbalanced that respect and different cannot stand together? Without competition and dominance? When did Christians start hating other Christian’s because they worship a little differently? Jesus’ charge to the believers was and is to spread the Good News! God alone is the judge of one’s heart. We are to love one another, to pray for one another. I encourage, I challenge you to join me in simply loving others, loving is not approval, or even agreeing with…it is giving respect to another human being that was created by God, for God’s purposes. The title of the Lenten lesson I read for today was “Getting Closer to God”. An insight I found was the closer I am to God the less I concern myself with my perceived wrongs that others might be doing. I realize I am being a bit vague and that is only because I do not wish to place restraints on your own ideas and ideals. I will; however, state a few things I struggle with and seek clarity to reflect love and not opinion: politics, religion, government, race, sexual orientation, war, humanitarianism, pride, loyalty, commitment. The scripture from my devotional was Matthew 11:27-30 and Psalm 90:1-6. My prayer is that you find it helpful and soothing to your soul.
~Blessings and Peace~
Matthew 11:27-30 “All things have been committed to me by my Father. No one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and those to whom the Son chooses to reveal him. “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”
Psalm 90:1-6 A Prayer of Moses the man of God. “Lord, you have been our dwelling place throughout all generations. Before the mountains were born or you brought forth the whole world, from everlasting to everlasting you are God. You turn people back to dust, saying, “Return to dust, you mortals.” A thousand years in your sight are like a day that has just gone by, or like a watch in the night. Yet you sweep people away in the sleep of death— they are like the new grass of the morning: In the morning it springs up new, but by evening it is dry and withered.”
Preparing for Easter ~C.S.Lewis