Lent Has Arrived
Tomorrow will be the first day of the season of Lent. During this season in the Church calendar, is is particularly a good time to take a step back and look at our lives. Where are we going? Is it where we want to go?
This kind of reflecting is one we should practice often. But, it is not always easy to do. If we are not careful, it could become a time of discouragement rather than growth.
One of the great reasons I have remained encouraged is because I genuinely believe that God is sovereign. I believe that God has not let go of the steering wheel.
Now, while some would take this idea of sovereignty to mean God controls every individual facet of the world, we do not need to believe that to trust God’s goodness. The miracle of God’s oversight over the whole of creation is something we should rejoice in.
We don’t have to understand it all. We don’t even have to agree with what or how God is doing things. But, we do need to trust God. This can seem so difficult to do. At least at first.
I have often asked myself why? Why do I struggle to trust God in and through the varied circumstances of life?
I think it has to do with our fear, or at the very least, our reluctance to live a surrendered life to God.
Our desire to maintain control over what we can’t control is more damaging than we know. And what are we trying to control, you may be asking? We are trying to control outcomes. But that is not for us to decide. We must live our lives the best we can. With the information we have available to us.
We don’t know how any individual choice will turn out. But we can decide how we will respond regardless of the outcome.
Our attitude, to a degree not often considered, determines how well we live.
A Season of Reflection
The season of Lent is a penitential time in the Church’s calendar. What this means is that during this season, we seek to refocus our lives. We strive to identify those attitudes and habits that are getting in the way of our spiritual growth.
One of the great challenges of the Christian journey is reflection. For those us who did not grow up in a liturgical church, the ebb and flow of the Church Calendar can seem strange. And yet, as the years have passed, I find this steady rhythm comforting.
There have been so many events and situations that have happened in the last year. I think a time of intentional reflection is warranted. Maybe its needed now more than ever.
For the people of God
In the last two years, I have become immersed in the study of the Book of Common Prayer tradition. And while there are other traditions in the Christian family, this particular form has been both encouraging and challenging. I have been encouraged by the simple pattern of prayer that I am offered as I pray the Daily Office. I have been encouraged by the thought that there are millions of other Christians praying in similar, if not identical ways. I have been encouraged by the effect it has had on and in my life.
But have also been challenged. As we read the scriptures, either corporately when we gather for worship or individually in private devotion, there is a short call-and-response we participate in. The leader reads the scriptures appointed and says to the congregation, “The Word of the Lord.” The people then respond, “Thanks be to God.”
What has been so challenging about this short exchange is that it reminds me that the word of God has been heard. That when I hear the Scriptures read aloud, or when I read them during my times of prayer, God is doing something through those words that is specifically for me. As a child of God, I am being blessed by those words that God spoke and preserved in the collected Scriptures.
What a wonderful gift!
The Word on the Way
It’s with this in mind that I want to draw our attention to the focus of this Lenten Series.
We will be working through and exploring the longest Psalm in the song book of the Bible, the Book of Psalms: Psalm `119.
Not only is it the longest Psalm, it has a particular focus on the way the Word of God is to operate in the life of those who seek, serve, and submit to God.
My hope and prayer is that as we consider what the Psalmist wrote, we will see through it like a lens. And as we peer through the images and illustrations they offered to us, we will understand more deeply what God is calling us to.
That the Word of God is what we need not just at the rest stops of life, but as we live and as we continue to walk in the way of the Lord.
May our love for God lead us to a deeper commitment and more faithful obedience to his Word.