Garden Heart : Lenten Reflections
As Lent approaches I find myself preparing my heart. Which in a way is funny, because Lent itself is a season of preparation for Easter, but it feels good and right to be ready for this.
I have always felt like Lent is one of the most important seasons of the church. One of the most important seasons of my life each year. I’ve already begun to open my heart and ask God to show me what I need to give up or fast from during this time. Usually the answer comes to me quite quickly which is telling. Even when we have trouble taking action, deep down, I think we know the things we are struggling with and wrestling over. We know the things to which we cling and the things on which we lean other than Christ to help us walk our journey. We can obscure the truth of these things or delay our response to them during the busyness of everyday life. Meanwhile obstacles begin to clutter our way to Christ and His joy and freedom. Our vision can become distracted–our hands full of other things. We become tangled and over-wrought.
Lent is this invitation and opportunity to give something up–to clear the rocks and weeds that block and choke, to unburden our shoulders and open our hands, so that in that space Christ can emerge anew. So that He can bring His resurrection into the dead or dying places in our hearts. No matter where we are or how we are doing, there is always an occasion for the Resurrection to manifest itself deeper into our lives.
It feels a little painful at first as we sacrifice something. But as we begin to hear the King of Sacrifice speaking to us–the Wounded Healer healing us– joy begins to spring up where those weeded roots were holding on. And when Easter arrives and the bloom is ready to open we can truly celebrate with freedom.
We celebrate Christ’s Resurrection with our own new resurrection and we are freed from the misconception that what He did was only once a long time ago. We realize how very close and ongoing redemption is in our lives–here, now, and always. Not that we need to receive the salvation of our souls again and again–no! We are saved in Christ’s one-time work! But in that Salvation where our Redemption was planted, it is a growing thing–blooming continually if and when we allow it to.
Lent tills the soil of that garden-heart we have been given. Lent is coming so that Easter can bloom. Let us get our hands dirty. Let us dig! Open and unearthed–Let us do the hard work of waiting. Ears to the ground, listening and learning. Only then can we be ready to see the colors of new life and to ring the bells of freedom.
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