Thursday, February 07, 2008

24 Hours of Bad News + Lent

Went to a Lent / Ash Wednesday service yesterday (thanks to the exceptionally kind pastors at Calvary Lutheran Church) and even got my ash-cross on my forehead (see Tara's blog). During the service, there is a lot about confession / sin and then a lot about the poor, the outcast, the less-than. The Lenten prayers are often, then, about confession (Ps. 51) and for the less-than.

What struck me in the confession sections is this: there seems to be a thread in the Scriptures that God is made great ("glorified") by His actions towards/on us that are then seen by "the world" (be that locals, internationals, angels, etc.). In the traditional passages of Lent, this glorifying is done by His forgiving of sins.

I know there is an accidental trend in Western and/or Evangelical thinking that puts the word "forgiveness" all-but solely on the Cross. There is 1 John 1:9 and the like, but we end up doing this:

Past = Forgiveness
Now = Fixing (sanctification, doing the right thing, being good, "growing", etc.)

Irony: we are asking people to accept God's forgiveness but we can't seem to show it to them because we are too busy with God's fixing(up) our lives. Are we hiding God's forgiveness?
Thought: Are we accidentally telling people that forgiveness is good, but God is really interested in the long-haul of changing actions (and maybe character)?

During the service, I couldn't help but think of our brothers and sisters in Kenya right now. Especially when we prayed for those "dying, and those expecting [the death of a loved one]."
Now, over the last 24 hours, I have not had a conversation that doesn't involve someone's significant physical, emotional, relational, and/or spiritual pain & suffering.

My emotional tank is draining quickly. These are some unique and dark days for me. Yet my hope is in Yahweh. More than ever for I have never been so keenly aware of how much I long to wrestle control from His hands and do the good-work myself. My never-ending tendency to play the Spirit in people's lives, in the world.

Somehow, keeping that as equally prominent "on the table" as the issues at hand has let me rest in the solidity of Jesus while feeling the tempest around me and the unpredictability of God's methods.

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