Monday, February 12, 2018
Good Monday, everyone
Grace and peace to you in the Name of the Lord Who is the God of love.
Another couple of days, and we will be celebrating Valentine's Day. It's one of those days which is celebrated around the world by the giving and receiving of chocolates, and flowers. Others eat special foods, while in South Africa women wear hearts on the sleeves (literally). Others celebrate it as friendship day, with a real emphasis on being friends with those around you.
Here in the Americas, people spend their monies on cards, dinners, and expensive flowers. I believe, personally, that it has become a day to drive the economy in another wise slow month of February. It's not that I am not a romantic, but if you're in love it ought to be a special day each day with the one you are privileged to "have and to hold."
If one happens to look at the Church Calendar, we can notice that this coming February 14 is also Ash Wednesday. It is the day of repentance, a day of mourning for one's since. Being the first day of Lent, it has turned into a day where (traditionally) people give up things so that they might "suffer with the Lord" in His suffering. On Ash Wednesday, people wear ashes in the form of the cross on the foreheads symbolizing their own repentance.
There are two thoughts that come to mind: First, repentance is something that needs to happen in our lives daily. Once I know that I have sinned, I must confess, and turn away from those things which offend the Lord, others and my own spirit. As well, I am thinking, that repentance is a personal thing, unless of course the sin is public or has hurt others. God calls us into repentance so that we might follow after Him and live each day with "clean hands and a pure heart."
Second, if we truly live a repentant life, then we have nothing to give up. I need not suffer to inherit salvation or even to be "good." That I have already won in the victory of Jesus over sin, death and the grave. He has won our salvation so that each day would be one in which I live before His face, seeking His favour, and relishing His Presence. There is nothing left to do -- Jesus has done it all. So, no, I am not giving up anything for Lent -- at least not in the way that most folks think about it. And, if you do give something up, should you be doing it in the first place?
Lent is the season where we remember the Lord Jesus' suffering for our sakes. He came "while we were yet enemies" with God, "while we were still sinners." God's love, compassion and grace, found in this one act of Jesus' coming and removing our guilt and shame, is worth celebrating!
Truly, Valentines ought to be a daily thing with those whom we love. And it ought be above all a daily life of love lived with the Lord, wherever you are,
in the love of Jesus,