Yesterday was Ash Wednesday, marking the beginning of Lent. This year, I am setting aside one hour a day for prayer and God time. It's something that I really should be doing all the time, but I have not been consistent with how many times a week/how much time a day I am really spending with God, so might as well start now! I so many times make the excuse that I am at church often doing church activities and having genuinely good fellowship with God and others...but that doesn't change the fact that God wants me to seek him out personally every single day. I am planning on making this much more than a 40 day resolution. It's what I want my life to look like. Once, I heard the story of a woman who took tithing so seriously that she literally tithed her time to God daily - that's right two and a half hours a day with the Creator of the Universe. That's serious business. And imagine what would change in our lives if you and I took time with God that seriously!!!
Anyway, recently, I re-read the book of Genesis during my quiet times, and so I decided that I would go back through Exodous next - see what God had to show me in those words. Interesting that I decided that eariler this week without really realizing how much this would relate to Lent. I am beginning my 40 days of Lent (which symbolizes Jesus' 40 days in the desert being tempted by Satan) while reading the story of how Moses led the Israelites out into the desert...for 40 years...
Lent is a time for Christians to participate in prayer, fasting, and almsgiving - in order to "empty" themselves before coming to celebrate Holy Week. If we allow God to break down the barriers we have put up in our lives, allow him to break our very selves, we give him room to come in and show us that he wants to be our healer. It's a time to remember that "we are dust and to dust we shall return". We are great sinners. We are in desperate need of a Savior. We need someone to come fill up the void that sin leaves in our hearts. Stories of being in the dessert...stories that we know so well take on greater depth and personal meaning when we are walking this Lenten path.
Some people are rather critical of Lent saying that it focuses too much on sin and not on redemption, but I pose that the opposite is true. We need to recognize how great our sin is in order to recognize how much GREATER our GOD is. It is not in vain that we make this journey. Remember...after their 40 year journey through the desert...the Israelites reached the Promised Land.
"Broken things are precious. We eat broken bread because we share in the death of our Lord and His broken life. Broken flowers give perfume. Broken incense is used in adoration. A broken ship saved Paul and many other passengers on their way to Rome. Sometimes the only way the good Lord can get into some hearts is to break them."
~Archbishop Fulton Sheen
PS - and this is on a much lighter, but related note, Roman was reading a book today that had a picture of Jesus on the cross. He looked at it for quite a while and then looked at me and said "ouchie Jesus". I cried a little. :) I can't wait until he can understand more about the pain that his Savoir endured and how he chose the pain because of he loved Roman so much.