The Heart of the Lenten Journey

chartresEvery morning she would dawn her floral house coat and fuzzy slippers, go into the kitchen and pour a cup of coffee that her husband had lovingly made. Then she would walk out to her sun porch, light a cigarette and begin to make a to-do list in a small spiral notebook.

As a boy, I watched this ritual unfold every time I would go to visit my maternal grandparents. One day I asked my loving, yet cranky, grandmother why she made a daily to-do list. At the core of my curiosity was the fact that the same items appeared every day. These were not routine things but rather significant tasks that she wanted to accomplish. And what I observed was that many had been on the list not only from the last time I visited but every time I visited.

Next week we will begin the Lenten journey. For many of us we will make a list of things we hope to stop doing, start doing, or a combination of the two. I am in favor of said lists, if in fact they will assist us in growing closer to be the people God is calling us to be. This, I believe, in the end is not about us.

John states it this way, “No one can receive anything except what has been given from heaven. You yourselves are my witnesses that I said, ‘I am not the Messiah, but I have been sent ahead of him. ’ He who has the bride is the bridegroom. The friend of the bridegroom, who stands and hears him, rejoices greatly at the bridegroom’s voice. For this reason my joy has been fulfilled. He must increase, but I must decrease.” John 3:27-30

I believe at the heart of our Lenten journey is the opportunity for us to decrease so that Christ can increase in us and through us.

It is as we pray in the General Thanksgiving in the Daily Office of the Book of Common Prayer, “And, we pray, give us such an awareness of your mercies, that with truly thankful hearts we may show forth your praise, not only with our lips, but in our lives, by giving up ourselves to your service, and by walking before you in holiness and righteousness all our days; through Jesus Christ our Lord, to whom, with you and the Holy Spirit, be honor and glory throughout all ages.

May you have a blessed Lent.

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