Tuesday, February 28, 2006

FINISH UP THE KINGS CAKE AND GET THE ASHES READY

This is a post that I did this time last year on "Lent" and thought it might be good to re-visit it. It's amazing how as I look back on this post from last year that it is speaking to me in a profound way tonight. WOW. So, here we go:


Journey through the field of temptation into the desert of abandonment. Posted by Hello


Lent: "spring," the time of the lengthening of the days. Lent is one of the six seasons of the church year and is the forty-day period beginning on Ash Wednesday and ending on Holy Saturday (the day before Easter). The period is actually 46 days, but since Sundays are feast days, they are never included in the count. Lent is intended to be a period of preparation and penitence marked by fasting, meditation and sobriety. Lent is widely associated with denial -- "giving something up for Lent." - http://www.holycross.net/anonline.htm

In my tradition within the United Methodist Church, Lent is celebrated and looked forward to every year. Since I've become a Christian Lent has become my favorite time of year. It's probably because I tend to be an introspective type of person. I identify with the idea of Jesus going into the wilderness to fast and discern God's will. I identify with giving something up/denial and spending time in prayer. Every year I look forward to taking that journey to the wilderness with Jesus and listening for God's direction in my own life.

This week the focus is on temptation. Our spirituality is based around Jesus' temptation in the wilderness and Adam and Eve's temptation to eat the fruit from the Tree of Knowledge in the Garden of Eden.

Wow, temptation is all around for everyone. I'm not even really talking about the temptations we think of as "the bad stuff" in life- cheating, stealing, infidelity, etc... but even the everyday choices of life. Daily I am tempted to be less than who I am. Do I give full concern and care to those people in my life that God has called my to be a steward of? Do I show love and compassion to those in need who somehow find their way into my life, even for a brief moment on the street? Do I choose to get up and take care of my body by exercising regularly or does sleeping in seem like a better choice at the moment?

These are my daily struggles- these are the sins of the daily life that I share with every other human on the face of the planet. These are the temptations and choices that create habits of character or vices.

When I follow Jesus to the desert I have nothing around me except all this "mess" to deal with and focus on. I am left alone to pray for strength, to surrender it to God, and realize that I am needy. When I follow Jesus to the desert I realize that there are angels all around me waiting for me to empty myself so that they may attend to my needs.

Wandering, wandering
Feeling my way... dry earth
Hot, weary
Sweaty, scared
Alone, afraid
Of what I might find
In myself
Denial, want

I follow him
into the desert storm
Wind, sand, dust
Scars my skin
fills my throat
cuts, raw, fierce

But then the wind subsides
I'm left alone
tired, cold and hot at the same time
these rocks won't change into water
so I wait for You
To speak to me
To give drink to my
thristy soul...


2 comments:

Wayne Bowerman said...

Jonathon,
This was a great meditation for my Ash Wednesday morning. I especially appreciate the poem. Thank you for sharing about the “bad stuff” as well. I actually had a conversation with a spiritual mentor early this morning about some of the very same every day choices and temptations that you mention. This has been good for me, Thank you
Shalom,
Wayne Bowerman

St.Phransus said...

thanks for the kind words wayne.