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Thursday, February 11, 2010

Lent 2010: An Undivided Heart

A deep blanket of snow over our world,


 

Hushed and covered white, roof top after roof top after roof top,

 
Even our attempts to shape and move the snow were 
thwarted as more snow came and roads were closed, 
snowman lost.

garish trikes and plastics slides, 
dead grass and dirty sidewalks, 
car after car after car, buried deep.














All the unsightly made clean, united in whiteness.













How my heart longs for this unity and covering as the Psalmist prays,

"Teach me your way, O LORD...give me an undivided heart..." (Psalm 86:11 NIV)

And so, this becomes my Lenten prayer:
An Undivided Heart.
A Heart that wills one thing.
A Heart detached from vain comforts that do not satisfy.
A Heart Uncluttered. Body and Soul. Our home. Our routine. Our affections.
All United to His will.


May He answer by sending the snow:
For to the snow He says, ‘Fall on the earth,’ likewise to the downpour, his mighty downpour. 
Job 37:6 ESV


And may that snow not return void.

“For as the rain and the snow come down from heaven and do not return there but water the earth,
making it bring forth and sprout, giving seed to the sower and bread to the eater,
so shall my word be that goes out from my mouth;
it shall not return to me empty,
but it shall accomplish that which I purpose,
and shall succeed in the thing for which I sent it. (Isaiah 55:10, 11 ESV)


Lent will begin on February 17th with Ash Wednesday and carry us through to Good Friday. Much like Advent, Lent is a season for preparation:

"The first Christians observed with great devotion the days of our Lord's passion and resurrection, and it became the custom of the Church to prepare for them by a season of penitence and fasting... the whole congregation was put in mind of the message of pardon and absolution set forth in the Gospel of our Savior, and of the need which all Christians continually have to renew their repentance and faith." (The Book of Common Prayer)
We are then invited, not forced out of some sense of duty or legalism or hope for salvation, to spend this 40 day period in penitence and prayer and giving:

"I invite you, therefore, in the name of the Church, to the
observance of a holy Lent, by self-examination and repentance;
by prayer, fasting, and self-denial; and by reading and
meditating on God's holy Word..." (Prayer from the Ash Wednesday Service)



This observance can be done at home for those who are not part of a liturgical community; we’ve had many fruitful Lenten seasons at times we were not attending an Anglican church.  As it can be personally difficult to have times of serious self-examination and repentance, I appreciate that this time of devotion in prayer, fasting and self-denial is done in community, both at my church and around the world, from ages past to the present. But anyone may enter, alone or as a family, this beautiful tradition as we remember his Death, we proclaim His resurrection, and we await His coming in Glory.  


 
This Season of Lent our family will seek an Undivided Heart…



Purging our homes, our bodies, our affections, our ambitions.

Fasting from food and drink. This year it is alcohol. Last year meat. One year coffee, another sugar.

So we may feast on Him, capable of being fully satiated.

Finding quiet by turning off the distractions and devoting that time to praying the hours, just as Christ and His Early Church did.

So we may hear His voice, capable of disciplined meditation and petition.

Seeking simplicity as we fill 40 bags (for 40 days) with that which we do not need. Toys, clothes, clutter, books, the maybe one day…while others could benefit.

So we may give as He gave, capable of stewarding His good gifts.

Detaching from the things, the stuff, the clutter we are told bring us meaning and purpose. Refusing to fill our life with that which obscures His Holiness and His Beauty from our sight.

So that we live in His Abundance, capable of appreciating His good gifts.


As we are invited to live out this season in community, I would love for us all to share how God is leading us to observe Lent this year personally or as a family. Please feel free to share in the comments or drop a link to your blog!
Wishing you a Lent of Bright Sadness,
Amy




3 comments:

MomCO3 said...

Amy,
I love the verse you've chosen. I've been thinking of the single eye (from Matthew) in terms of Lent-- if the eye be single, then the whole body is filled with light. What is it my eyes are admiring/seeing/looking for? Fasting can help me *see* that more clearly.
I also like your 40 bags in 40 days idea.
Thanks for making me think!
Blessings,
Annie

Karen said...

Amy, thanks so much for this! Your prayer re: an undivided heart is so timely for me and really reflects the longing of my heart too as we draw near to Lent.

May the Lord indeed work that purity, wholeness and unity in all our hearts this Lent.

Thankful for your blog!
Karen B.
Lent & Beyond

Amy said...

Thanks Annie and Karen!
@Annie-the single eye is a helpful image for me to meditate on this Lent.
@Karen-I was blessed by your link and encouragement. Glad to see you posting again, it was such a help to me when I decided to start following the church year in our home and with children. You are in my prayers today.

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