“The first step toward recovery is admitting you have a problem.” — Alcoholics Anonymous
“Unless we see our symptoms and sickness, we do not seek a cure. The Lenten disciplines do not take too long to reveal something to us, and when they do we are supposed to rest in the knowledge of God’s love and grace.” — Lent: The Journey From Ash Wednesday Through Holy Week
Growing up and not celebrating Lent I had the impression it was a time where Catholics gave up meat or sweets. They could live like the world every other time of the year, but for Lent they had to “give up” something. It was just about the “giving up.”
The more I’ve grown in disciplines like fasting the more I realize the misconceptions I carried about this season. Fasting is not just about “giving up” food. Lent is not just about “giving up” something.
It is about “clearing the decks” of our minds and hearts so we can hear once again the voice of our Savior just a bit more clearly. Lent is not about sacrifice for the sake of being dour. It is a call to help our hearts to tune in once again. Just take a break! Breathe!
In the “giving up” we need to realize the reward of those choices. We give up to once again turn our hearts more clearly toward the Lord. Look fully in his face. Hear his voice once again. It’s a time to reset the compass. That isn’t a dour exercise. It leads us to joy.
This is a journey of examination. Psalm 32 starts the journey with tough questions.Without acknowledging sin in my own life I cannot move forward. The journey must begin with confession.
The journey is one that is led of the Spirit. Our Scripture for Sunday focuses on Jesus being led by the Spirit into the wilderness. Psalm 32 is a call to heed the instruction of the Father.
“I will instruct you and teach you the way you should go; I will counsel you with my eye upon you.” (Ps 32:8, NRSV).
Lord, help me to hear your voice. I don’t want to be like the horse or mule that needs to be led by bit and bridle because I’m too dull to hear! In this journey, let me hear your voice!