I wake up, a little too early.
I hear the squirrel gnawing at my bedroom ceiling.
I think of house maintenance and the money to be spent.
I remember the labour dispute, docked wages, frustration.
My back hurts – oh and the exercises and physio appointments.
And I pray an “oh God, oh Jesus, Jesus help.” kind of a prayer,
but already I have laid a rock upon my chest, and another and another.
Stones of Hindrance, they press in on my heart and seem to say: “look at all of that, and all that lies ahead. However can your god deal with that?
If only I would look back to where yesterday’s stones stand! Stones of help from the days before.
This is not putting my hand to the plow and then turning back unworthily – regretfully. No, I look back in reference – how did God help yesterday? Where have we been, and where are we today?
Two stanzas of the hymn Amazing Grace come to mind:
Amazing grace, how sweet the sound,
That saved a wretch like me!
I once was lost but now am found,
Was blind, but now I see.
Through many dangers, toils and snares
I have already come;
‘Tis grace has brought me safe thus far,
and grace will lead me home.
So, Lent is over. I did not even write from Maundy Thursday onwards. Did I make it through Lent? or- how did I make it through Lent? The same way I made it through today or last Monday, or January the 8th…
by God’s Grace alone.
Did I keep lent well? Well, I did something different, considered God’s work in my life and this world, and I’ve had fun doing this. I didn’t actually mortify the flesh.
Thanks for reading.
Oh yeah, if you were wondering, Jesus gets killed – but it is not the end of the story – some women go to the tomb where he was buried, but his body was not there… Read about it if you will.
Alastair writes that in lent we may be feeding
a desire to be able to lay something before God and say “Look, I did it. I have it within myself. I’m worthy.” We don’t want to bumble our way through Lent depending on grace. We want to strong-arm our way towards self-congratulation.
In Lent, as in all of christian life, we walk in a delicate balance between discipline and the tendency towards legalism, between works and grace. As the Duo Salmond and Mulder sang: “We’re all stumbling heavenward we’re flying like a crippled dove”. May God bless us all in our efforts, and through his unmerited favour.
So, having a good Lent? Well, not so much, really
Is it ok to do poorly at lent?
What happens if we get to the end of Lent, having successfully mortified the flesh and worthily lamented our sins? Is it ok to fail at Lent. Can I fail at Lent without falling?
One danger that I see is the possibility of completing a successful Lenten observance and feeling that I have earned a prize, – that I am in some way ‘worthy’. Self righteousness is a huge danger. The fact that I survived for x number of days – well that is grace. Any attempt or leaning towards godliness is the work of Holy Spirit (sure, I am involved in obedience, and even in some weird way, in grace). If I struggle with sin, or are troubled with my weaknesses, grace again.
So, having a good lent? Aware of your imperfections, failings? Longing to do better, or longing to long to do better?
Are you a person who needs a saviour, The Saviour?
Good Lent to you! And may God have mercy on us all.
Writing during Lent, I will write forty words a day, but these are not Lent words, but may be writing “redemptively”
Today I am grateful for:
- nearly twenty crows in a leafless maple
- blue sky, sunshine and cirrus clouds (mares’ tails)
- an old brown dog
- friends in Malawi
- children learning to read and write
- spring flowers and bees
and to God, the maker – his handiwork is anywhere I look, if I take the time to see