It’s Ash Wednesday. And so Lent begins… Ashes. Fasting. Prayer. Repentance. Giving up stuff. Doing more spiritual stuff. 40 days may seem like a long time until we celebrate Easter (especially if it’s life without chocolate ’til then!)
Sometimes we view Lent with a hint of drudgery as something to get through. We make checklists – give up this, that, this, this… Do more of this, more prayers, go to church more, volunteer free time to causes. Spend more time in devotions. Usually each year i add a stack of Lenten Devotionals to read every evening before bed (this on top of the year-around morning stack.)
All these things are good to do for Lent… certainly God can, & does, bless our Lenten efforts. But this year i want to think about Lent a different way. It started when i read this poem last week by Madeleine L’Engle (her Glimpses of Grace is one of this year’s morning devotional stack.)
If thou couldst empty self of selfishness
And then with love reach out in wide embrace
Then God might come this purer self to bless;
So might thou feel the wisdom of His Grace,
And see, thereby, the radiance of His face.
But selfishness turns inward, miry, black,
Refuses stars, sees only clouded night,
Too full, too dark, cannot confess a lack,
Turns from God’s face, blest, holy, bright,
Is blinded by the presence of the Light.
I kept reading & re-reading this. Thinking about opening up my heart to ‘embrace‘ God. To be embraced by the love of Christ – & to embrace others in & with His love.
This whole embrace idea sounds seriously ‘touchy-feely.’ Kinda scary to a non- touchy-feely kinda gal.
To embrace, we open up our arms. The embrace of love is tender & gentle. It’s a two way interaction. You can’t embrace someone who’s got that defiant arms-crossed stance going on. The embracee must open up to receive the embrace, just as the embracer opens up to give the embrace.
What does it mean to be embraced by the love of God, Who calls us tenderly BY NAME?
Virginia (insert your name.)
Precious Child… Beloved Child…
It means that we don’t need to be scared. We can open up our hearts wide to the radiant grace of our loving Heavenly Father and to His everlasting mercy that can rekindle the darkest corners of our hearts into bright flames of love with His light.
Smoldering wicks are not snuffed out in God’s embrace.
My prayer for the beginning of this Lent?
Oh God, open our hearts to Your embrace that we may become sparks of love in Your mercy & grace.
Short and simple, but hey, it’s a start.
p.s. Once again, Virginia (your humble blogger) will attempt to post-a-day for Lent. Like Advent, sometimes it may be a picture, quote or book, or maybe even something totally different. Keep posted (& hopefully i’ll keep posting! : )