James writes warning about seeking to become friends with the world.
Jesus tells us to love our neighbor as we love ourselves.
God so loved the world that he gave his son.
so, what is the difference?
I think that I know…
There is a phrase in an Anglican collect (group prayer) for Lent that mentions us “worthily lamenting” our sin. I don’t think that that phrase always describes my relationship to sin.
I’m more likely to lament the consequences of sin or regret because of the way I feel afterwards.
perhaps remorse and self-loathing is a beginning step, or else a counterfeit for worthy lament.
Lord, let me worthily lament my sin:
- My selfishness.
- My caring more about my comfort than the comfort of others.
- My caring about what others think of me more than what they think of You, or what you think of me
I went for sushi with friends last night, unaware of the all-you-can-eat deal. Too much good food!
I contrast that with being in Malawi, Africa near the end of Ramadan where the ram’s horn sounds before sunup to prepare for the day of fasting.
I wonder how they do Lent in Malawi.
I am no expert at Lent. If you are looking to me to direct you into “proper” Lenten observance, I suspect that you will be disappointed. I am a bit of a hack at Lent. But I do know a little about following Jesus.
Neglecting Lent will not make Jesus love us any less. Doing Lent cannot make Jesus love us more, but it just might help us to know Jesus and Love him more – which would be worth while.
I have been following some of Jon Swanton’s bloggings and thoughts about following Jesus. I enjoy his writing. He is realistic, hard-hitting, loving kind and gentle. He wrote a book a couple of years ago called Lent for Non-Lent People: “33 things to give up for Lent” and other readings. I like the book and wish that I had written it. If you are intrigued by Lent and want to go deeper, that book might be a good way to move forward.
His post, 33 things to give up for Lent is also a way to move forward.
Lent for Non-Lent People: “33 things to give up for Lent” and other readings is available through various channels. I know that there is a version available for use on various readers, i.e. Kindle, etc. if you are so inclined.
The sovereignty of God seems both essential and impossible to believe.
In James 4:15 we read “if the Lord wills, we will live and do this or that.” – recognizingGod’s sovereignty in what actually happens day-to-day. Still there is the troubling and essential aspect of our free will, and the free will of others who do things that we don’t like, things that we cannot reconcile with the sovereign will of God.
God reigns over us as King and Lord. We, his loyal (or otherwise) subjects, still have the opportunity to choose to obey him or not.
The above hardly begins to answer the question that I barely began to ask about the sovereignty of God and our free will.
Is Lent a time for us to be certain to listen to our King? We could do worse.
Sometimes there seem to be no words.
Nothing new to say.
A relative once asked the question:
“is what I am about to say going to be an improvement over silence?”
I wonder if God feels this way some mornings.
“Out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaks” Matthew 12:34 tells us. Allign the heart and words follow.
Confession, repentance, commitment.
My words can change things.
A large ship can be turned by a small rudder wherever the will of the pilot directs.
Created in God’s image, we have a voice to be used creatively – speaking into being.
Let there be light.
Let it be to me according to your word.
Father forgive them.
It is finished.
What shall I say today?
Shall I, in a season, give up some sin, only to take it up again later? -or begin something good, only to drop it later?
In Lent, I step aside and practice something that I intend to continue, listening to God. Then in the rest of life continue in that same direction.
I think so.
His response: “I guess that it depends on how many sins you have…” left me wondering: I wonder whether Lent would be happier if you have few or many sins? On one hand, having many sins would lead me to have a more penitent lent, and having few would leave me with only light penitence. On the other hand, having many sins forgiven, I would have great gratitude.
Growing up in a Presbyterian family and church, I was aware of very little emphasis on Lent. We might, curiously have pancakes for dinner on a Tuesday in early spring some years to use up the oil. By some curious miracle we never ran out of oil…
As a rather young young adult, I was sitting in the Student Union Building at UBC with friends from various churches. Someone asked one of our group, a young Jesuit, what he was giving up for Lent and he quipped “celibacy”, a word I didn’t know. Everyone laughed, but I didn’t get it. The more, and more loudly I asked, the quieter everyone got. Finally, mercifully, one of the young women, a little older than I, took me aside and explained. As my understanding grew, the red glow from my face illuminated the SUB.
As an adult, I kind of feel that Lent is a little like celibacy – in the story above, that is – something that others get, but I am outside the circle of understanding. Over the years I have developed an eclectic view, and spotty observance of Lent.
One of my friends will not observe Lent. He feels that it is un-christian. I guess one could see Lent as trying to prove something to God, or earn points, or leverage Him into doing something.
Now, as an Anglican, Lent is with us big time.
I have and do participate in some observances: One year I gave up coffee – and was grumpy for 3 weeks – no one told me about having Sundays off- so I could have had a cup on the weekend…
I’m over 40 words, but I include a comic. Lent is not a time to try to make God pay attention to us.
He has said “I will never forsake you”