Day four, the fog hangs low again today. Winter recedes. The dreary weather tends to depress me. An easy winter, but there's been much sickness, many problems, people struggling. ...
For four days now, I've not had any caffeine, no evening snacks and I've prepared my own "homemade" lunches. Little challenges to better myself, maybe I've taken on too much, but, surely for my own well-being. ...
In The Dispatch's Sunday funnies, Feb. 20, "Classic Peanuts," the little guy with the blanket -- Linus -- lets out a big "sigh" that disturbs Lucy's TV watching and she threatens him. He responds that sighing is "scriptural" -- "Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with sighs too deep for words." (Romans 8)
Linus wanders away and, as she sits alone in front of the TV, Lucy says, "I don't know ... I'm either going to have to slug him, or start going back to Sunday school!"
Linus shared a wonderful gift with Lucy. He let her know that God's Holy Spirit is constantly working behind the scenes, within us, to bring about life and good for us, despite our lack of awareness, despite our failure even to realize that we have a need for God's help ... that thought made her consider going deeper in her understanding of God, perhaps in her relationship with God ...
For almost 2,000 years, a huge percentage of the Christian church has used the season of Lent (beginning with Ash Wednesday, March 8, and running until Easter, April 23) to intentionally work at drawing closer to God. Christians have used fasting, Bible reading, increased worship services, personal devotions, etc. to try to make themselves more open to God and God's will for their lives.
While all the time, God was moving first to bring them to that place of openness ... Coaxing, wooing, urging, pursuing -- God seeking that our hearts might be made one with God on this dreary day, in the sunny days to follow and forever ... Could that be? Could there be more to this God who died on a cross "for you" than just the basic street understanding, than just the basic Sunday school pictures? Could this God really have something deep, rich and powerful, something compassionate and life-giving to share with you or me beyond what we already think that we know? Could it be?
Winter recedes. Lent is about to begin, six weeks calling for people once again to seek to focus on a dying Jesus who said, "Father, forgive them for they know not what they do." (Or what they miss?)
Reading the Bible, attending worship regularly, praying each night -- could one do some such for six weeks? Too much to take on? With what value?
"I don't know ... I'm either going to have to slug him, or start going back to Sunday school!"
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