And so it begins, the season of Lent. This year instead of ashes visibly smudged on our foreheads, ashes will be sprinkled over our bowed heads.
Little did we know when Lent began last year how drastically things would change. Going to church on Easter became something we longed for when churches were closed to in-person worship. We can go now (very carefully) but I will never take church for granted!
Challenges continue to circumvent robust and feeble intentions lurking in our minds and hearts. This Lenten season presents us with a choice: to dwell in worry and fear or to dwell in wonder and possibility, of what God can do in and through you and me.
Here’s a poem by Madeleine L’Engle in her Glimpses of Grace daily devotional that portrays the dilemma:
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.
What does it mean to open our hearts to be embraced by God, to know the wisdom of His grace, to see the radiance of Christ’s face?
The embrace of God’s love is tender and gentle. It’s a two way interaction. You can’t embrace someone in a defiant arms-crossed stance. You must open up the arms of your heart to receive the embrace.
What does it mean to be embraced by God, Who calls us tenderly BY NAME?
It means we don’t need to be scared. If we open up our hearts to the radiant embrace of our loving Heavenly Father, His everlasting mercy will rekindle the darkest corners of our hearts into bright flames of love.
Smoldering wicks are not snuffed out in God’s embrace.
My prayer for the beginning of Lent?
Oh God, open our hearts to Your embrace that we may become sparks of love filled with Your mercy and grace.
Short and simple, but hey, it’s a start.
Virginia : )