Our first week of Lent begins on Wednesday. For many of us this journey toward spiritual growth might start with the tradition of having a cross of ashes placed on our forehead and hearing the words “Repent and believe in the gospel”. The ashes remind us of our brokenness, our sinfulness. The cross reminds us of our Savior.
Last week during our practice I encouraged you, in light of the events of this past year, to perhaps look at Lent in a new way. As different as the past year has been, maybe Lent will be different as well. A time of receiving, when our empty buckets, our depleted selves and our open hearts will be filled back up. Our open hearts…
Way back in December the very first week of our Advent practice, I asked you to focus on the deepest desire of your heart and to present that desire to God. Now here we are at the beginning of Lent and I ask you again to bring your attention to the heart. But let’s turn the tables. Instead of asking what is the deepest desire of your own heart, what do you think is the deepest desire of God’s heart for you? What does God long for when he thinks of you? What does God long to fill you with during this season of Lent? What gift does he long to give you if only you will open your heart to receive it? While opening ourselves to receive his abundant grace, can we surrender our own striving, efforting, and achieving?
And so we ask ourselves, “What is the deepest desire of God’s heart for me? What would he like to see healed in me? And how can I open my heart to receive his gifts?”
Lord, I present my open heart to you. Give me the desire to change my heart so that the desires of your own heart become the desires of mine.
A clean heart create for me, O God,
and a steadfast spirit renew within me
Give me back the joy of your salvation,
and a willing spirit sustain in me.
O Lord, open my lips,
and my mouth shall proclaim your praise. Psalm 51
And now, lest we get too serious, here’s a little Lenten humor for all of you chocolate lovers out there!