The Journey Home- A Lent Introduction

The Kingdom of Heaven is like a treasure hidden in a field, which a man found and covered up. Then in his joy he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field.
— Matthew 13:44

Lent

Sometimes, I wish I lived on a farm. I long for the change of seasons, and the uprooting of monotonous patterns they might interrupt. But I know that the idea of seasons is less of something I crave physically (because honestly, I am allergic to everything); but rather, a soul longing.

Despite your stage of life, surely you share the moments I dread of laying down to bed and realizing that all of your days are running together. Somehow, in the midst of urgent needs, I lose touch with God’s redemptive story- a story that is mine to live in.

This feeling of meaninglessness is not new to humanity. We toil and try, and yet we feel the effects of the fall have become our story: “By the sweat of your face you shall eat bread, till you return to the ground, for out of it you were taken; for you are dust, and to dust you shall return.” (Gen 3:19)

This is the beauty of celebrating the Kingdom Seasons. The Church Calendar unites believers across the globe, and past boundaries of time, in the embrace of abundant life. As we reconnect with the redemptive Story of God With Us, we shake off the dust that buries us in ordinary times.

 

Take the Journey

As much as it is overused, I love the word “journey” as a verb. I very much experience the liturgical church seasons by journeying through them.

In ordinary time, I wander. I have intentions to commit my plans to God and submit to his authority, but my misunderstandings of need draw me to distraction and sluggish obedience. Without much notice, I slip into careless living and the rejoicing in each day is muddled out by to-do lists and laundry. I start to crave fulfillment from luxury, and rest from entertainment.

Then Advent comes. And all of the sudden I see that, indeed, I am the prodigal daughter. Knee deep in a muddy field, I crave pig slop when I was made and redeemed for the abundance of my Father’s house.

I look around and realize that I have a better rescue (from my exhaustion and dissatisfaction) in Jesus than in the world. He shines in on my position and I am drawn toward the Light.

When Lent commences with Ash Wednesday I begin my journey back home. On the road I think through all of the ways I can change and I rehearse my requests for a place as a slave. “I will give up whatever you want me to, Jesus!” becomes my refrain.

And, along that journey, the Holy Spirit opens my eyes to the culminating tension between my failure and his holiness until at last I arrive at Holy Week. Suddenly, I see my God before me and rather than standing distant, arms crossed with contention, he is running toward me. He throws his cloak upon me, calls me his child, and shares with me the inheritance of his One True Son. He was looking for me, watching me return with gladness.

 

So, here I am.

At the beginning of that walk home. This Wednesday I will put ashes on my head and bow my knees before the One who offers me more than a future of dust, even though it is what I deserve. I will repent of the squandering in which I have partaken during ordinary time, and reconnect with the King of Light.

 

Shine on me, Jesus. I long to return to my Father’s House.

 

Better is one day in your courts than a thousand elsewhere; I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God than dwell in the tents of the wicked.
— Psalm 84:11

 

Grassroots Christianity’s Plans This Lent

This year we are taking a rest from writing a daily devotional. Instead, we are going to write weekly reflections on our journey through Lent in the midst of life-mess. For me (Kate) that means writing about keeping the holiday holy with little kids. For Corey, that means writing about worshiping God in a season of grief.

Would you join us? Would you document your journey through Lent this season?

Here is the challenge: Write a journal entry each week reflecting on your experience as you try to uproot yourself from habits and dependencies that are counter to the Kingdom of Light. Ask the Holy Spirit to reveal your cravings that are beckoning you to squander the freedom Christ has given you.

To start, answer these questions:

How did I worship God this week?

How did I rebel against God this week?

In what ways will I commit to seeking His Kingdom purposes in this coming week?