Posts Tagged ‘lent’

Isaiah 58:1-12

I told them I’d love a pair of shoes.

She brought me buttered toast.

She said “I even spread it thick,

Because I love you most.”

I asked them for an umbrella

To protect me when it drips.

They gave me a new LEGO set

With little pirate ships.

I asked to see them work together

To show love can abound

They pushed and shoved each other back

To show the love they’d found.

We see the silliness herein

And smile at silly words.

We think of how such children would

Be really quite absurd.

Yet God has asked to “end injustice,

Give the hungry food to eat.”

And every year we smile and say

“We hear you – we give up sweets!”

May we be truly humbled 

By the way we miss the mark

But not into inaction –

May humility be the spark…

A Wrinkle in Parenting (spoiler alert)

We’ve just returned from the theater, only to verify once more – the book is always better than the movie.  It sounds like such a great homeschool policy – “We’ll only go see the movie if we read the book together!”  Yet every time – the movie ends up falling flat.  It just doesn’t stand a chance.wrinkle.jpeg

Pushing that aside for a moment, I do love the book and so much of the imagery and themes througout: Light fighting back the darkness. Strength discovered in weakness.  You cannot serve two masters.  Hope even in places where we’ve made mistakes.  There are even direct quotes from scripture used imaginatively throughout.

L’Engle presents a Universe much larger than we usually envision, and the invitation for each of us to become warriors on behalf of light.  This doesn’t mean strapping on our weapons, and polishing our armor – it means offering ourselves in places and situations where we aren’t assured of the outcome.  It means loving the other, even when there’s no visible sign that such sacrificial love will be received well.

One of my favorite scenes is toward the end, as the lead character realizes she has been self-centered in her relationship with her Father:

          “I’m – I’m sorry, Father…(tears came to her eyes, their hands together)..I wanted you to do it all for me.  I wanted everything to be all easy and simple…So I tried to pretend that it was all your fault…because I was scared, and I didn’t want to have to do anything myself–“
        “But I wanted to do it for you,” Mr.Murry said.  “That’s what every parent wants.”  He looked into her dark, frightened eyes….
         “No.” Mrs Whatsit’s voice was sterner than Meg had ever heard it. “You are going to allow Meg the privilege of accepting this danger.  You are a wise man, Mr.Murry.  You are going to let her go.”

So many layers to this.

We love our children, and want great things for them.  But we must remember, for them to grow and develop they must be allowed to experience the mystery of holding Gods’ hand into the unknown.  As John Ortberg has written, “Persons of excellent will, judgment and character are formed by having to make their own decisions.” (Focus on the Family, April/May 2018)

We see this same love as God invites humanity with free will to respond to a crucified Messiah, an image of self-sacrificing Love that doesn’t force, demand, or overthrow.  An infinitely compelling revelation of a path we’re invited to follow, not with the promise that all will go well – but with the promise that this is the path of New Creation Love.  This is the way of proclaming Jesus as Lord.  This is the way of light breaking forth into darkness.

So what is the wrinkle? If we want to invite our children to step forward into a faith-filled unknown – we must be prepared to respond to their obvious questions.  “Really mom/dad?  You’re doing this?”  Where are we following Jesus into areas of unknown?  Where are we trusting Him to do something, without which we would sink into the waves of a stormy sea?  Where are we experiencing this as a home/family?

This isn’t meant to be intimidating, but encouraging/inviting.  This isn’t saying every family should sell all things, move into a tiny home in the bad part of town, or other side of the world.  This is simply saying – great distances can be traveled by small and simple acts of sacrificial love.  Great rifts can be overcome by a humble dependence on a Love that reflects the brightest light that has ever shown.

This is how Christ began the ultimate victory.  This is how we continue to proclaim & establish it, empowered by His Spirit even now.   Not by our own power to Love, but as we are transformed by His…

Okay with Wait.

I often find myself in the position parents all throughout time have been in, explaining a large word or concept to my 4 year old in ways she can grasp.  The word we were discussing was the word “patience”.  A word her daddy needs to work on every bit as much as she does.  The phrase I came up with to help her understand was simply, “patience means it’s okay to wait”.

But we are reminded by God’s word, there’s much more to it than that.  In Exodus 24, God calls Moses to the mountain to meet with him.  Moses goes, and ends up having to wait 6 days before God reveals himself.  As they’re meeting together on the mountain, the people of God find themselves waiting 40 days and 40 nights, and they grow impatient.  It seems not only here, but throughout scripture, God’s people should be those who not only “know how” to wait well, but look forward to those times of waiting.

skyThis seems to be appropriately against the normal pace of an instant gratification world.  The culture of hurry, and filled schedules.  It also seems like a very important/beneficial time to embrace the concept of “waiting”, as we continue the season of Lent this week.  We wait, and deny ourselves certain things until the celebrations of Easter week.  We know there will be much to celebrate, and what we will celebrate together gives us strength and reason to remain faithful today.

The people of God in Exodus 24 lost sight of that.  In chapter 32, we read a disappointing scene where God’s people have lost patience in waiting for Moses.  In their impatience, they’ve created an idol to give them spiritual gratification immediately.  I don’t think it’s much of a stretch to say, many times we Jesus-loving church goers find ourselves with the same desire for instant spiritual gratification.

But what about the faithfulness of God that comes after a period of waiting?  All of creation waited for Christ to come, and oh how things have changed!  The people of God wandered in the wilderness, waiting to enter the promised land.  Jesus spent his time in the wilderness, being tempted by Satan and spending time apart with God – preparing him for his earthly ministry.  Noah and his family waited through the storms, and waited even beyond that for the water to recede, in order to experience the covenant living of God.  Abraham and Sarah waited quite longer than they expected, to experience the beginning of God’s faithfulness to His word.

In each of these, the wait was much more than “okay”.

May we be people who are not only experienced in, but filled with anticipation by…waiting on the Lord.

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