What would you think of me if I told you that I haven't given anything up for Lent? I'm still eating chocolate, drinking coffee, and even had a dessert. I'm giving up alcohol, but I blame that entirely upon being pregnant really.
But if I haven't given anything up, what really am I sacrificing, in order to connect more with my Savior through his final days leading to the cross?
It's taken me a week to come back to this place. I've scribbled down thoughts, written a draft or two, but the words didn't seem right. They felt contrived. I don't desire that for myself, or for this sacred place. Yes, this place Redeeming the Table, it's sacred. Just like my little nook within my kitchen among strewn vegetables on the cutting board...it's sacred.
Reading the words of Isaiah 58. What does this look like? What does it mean to put on righteousness and loosen the yolks of injustice? To clothe the poor, feed the hungry, speak well of all, and care for ill & family. To bring glory to Zion--what does this mean as I am comfortable under the warm blankets?
Then the Psalmist said,
For You do not delight in sacrifice, otherwise I would give it;
You are not pleased with burnt offering.
The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit;
A broken and a contrite heart, O God, You will not despise.
I'm sorry I cannot offer you a clear indication of what Isaiah 58 looks like, or what it should look like...other than, it's different for each individual.
Well, what "is" calling forth inside of me this past week of Lent?
That the honorable work of injustice is something I want to be apart of in theory, but not reality.
That the work of wiping messy bottoms, fixing meals for thankless hearts, covering love over the ill, needy, abandoned is not holy work in the eyes of man or woman. And yet, it's hard work, and it's called worship.
That this work of doing love is not easy and it makes me realize that Jesus is the selfless servant, in which I am greatly humbled & weakened by my selfish heart.
That just because some have been given a voice to speak for those who are disabled, others are to bring justice for the prisoner, and so forth. And, who am I to bring justice for?
That maybe as we give by the sweat of our brow, the toiled earth, calloused hands & sickened stomachs, that we find more of ourselves & more of Jesus in the everyday--in the ordinary. Maybe we realize that this life is sacred in the toilet training to the chopping of vegetables to the giving a meal.
And maybe, it's not through Lenten sacrifice that we find Jesus; rather, it's through the giving of self I have found him--I've found me?
Here is what I have found
Through all of this, we find the spark of the Holy Spirit like Jesus walking through that desert as he prepared for his ministry. Because it wasn't all toil for him. There was celebration too as he saw people redeemed. As the Holy Spirit works in us through the hard worship of doing love, we find that we have found more of ourselves & like the prophet Joel began,
Declare a holy fast;
call a sacred assembly.
Summon the elders
and all who live in the land
to the house of the LORD your God,
and cry out to the LORD.
Rend your heart
and not your garments.
Return to the LORD your God,
for he is gracious and compassionate,
slow to anger and abounding in love,
and he relents from sending calamity.
But God said to Israel (book of Joel),
I will pour out my Spirit on all people.
Your sons and daughters will prophesy,
your old men will dream dreams,
your young men will see visions.
Even on my servants, both men and women,
I will pour out my Spirit in those days.
This week has brought the anticipation of what can be through rendering our garments (my own garments). In this first week of Lent, I have seen the possibility of God sized dreams when allowed.
What are your God sized dreams? Anything? How do you see yourself in bringing about Isaiah 58 to this world if nothing could get in the way, because it's God sized?