Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Sacred Rhythm - The first day of Lent

Growing up, the best thing for me about the season of Lent was Shrove Tuesday; "Pancake Day" for us, and "Fat Tuesday" here on the U.S. Gulf Coast. That was the day my mum made amazing English style pancakes, crepes floating in lemon juice and sugar; my brother and I tore into them like there was no tomorrow.

Of course that was the original idea of Fat Tuesday. There was no tomorrow so far as indulgent food was concerned, not until Easter around six weeks down the road. But - growing up in a Protestant household - I don't remember much particular attention given to today (Ash Wednesday) or to the traditional spiritual disciplines of Lent. I have since come to believe that an observance of the spiritual calendar, a kind of sacred rhythm, has a lot of merit in a world that has become so overbearingly secular.

So I'm going to use this space to share a devotional journey - all the way to The Cross. Please join me every day.

ASH Wednesday - Day One
"Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come." (2 Corinthians 5:17)

The promise of springtime is very deep with me. As a child, in England, this was the time the green tips of crocus leaves pushed their way through the slush of freezing rain or the melting snow. Typically, I would see them on a cold, wet, uninviting morning, having reluctantly taken our too enthusiastic Golden Retriever out for a run. There they would be, little heads poking up with inordinate hope. "We can do it!" They seemed to taunt, "What's your excuse!"

Today, in Florida, my springtime is already in full bloom. Everywhere the garden is pushing ahead in response to the imperative of nature. The nature of the sin that separates me from God may be death - life set aside in favor of darkness - but Jesus has given me this NEW DISPOSITION, and that is the disposition of life.

The surge of vitality that comes through cold soil and dead wood every Spring is small compared to the life that Christ offers through the nature of our birth into his resurrection. "You have to be born from above..." Jesus told Nicodemus in John 3. "Behold," he invites, "I make all things new!"

So each springtime is instructive to me in terms of my journey.
  • Am I allowing the Holy Spirit to work newness in my life?
  • Is my faith able to grasp - afresh - the promise of renewal?
  • Do I thrust forth the kind of evidence that the crocus achieves each and every year?
  • And does the witness of my living communicate the reality of God's amazing love to the world around me?
These next 40 days offer a unique opportunity to set our intention for life. How about you join me in this Journey.
Love and blessings - DEREK

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