Welcome to the second annual Tapestry Lent Blog Series!
As we enter into this season, we ask ourselves, “Why Ash Wednesday?” Earlier today I read a great article by one of my favorite pastors in Minnesota, Steve Weins who wrote, “Together we admit, ‘We’re messed up. We’re not as put together as we seem to be. We need help.’” I love that. What a great want to enter the season of Lent, with humble spirits, recognizing we are not alone in our struggles.
We think back to how Jesus spent 40 days in the desert being tempted by Satan (Luke 4:1-13). Even though Jesus is fully God, he is also fully human, so these temptations were intense and very real. We honor Jesus’ fast and eventually crucifixion and resurrection as we spend the 40 days leading up till Easter (excluding Sundays) in a spirit of fasting, prayer & giving. This morning my friend Ben reminded me of these 3 “pillars” of Lent, borrowed from the Orthodox tradition. What would it look like if we seriously entered this season in a true spirit of fasting, prayer & giving?
Lent gives us an opportunity to refocus on Jesus, our Savior. How are you going to refocus on our Redeemer this season? I am going to enter into the same way of refocusing as I have the last few Lent seasons: each morning I will open my Bible before touching my phone. I am sure I am not alone in my early morning time wasting on the phone. So instead of grabbing my phone and starting my day with my to-do list and checking social media, I will begin my days by simply opening my Bible. The thing is that once my Bible is simply open in front of my, I will at least read a verse, then 2, and maybe a chapter or a few. I’m not sure if you’re like me, playing mind games with yourself, but I could technically just open and close my Bible to “fulfill” my Lenten refocusing. But let’s be honest, once it’s open and in my hands, I remember that I WANT to read the Word. I am hungry for TRUTH. It’s so easy to forget the immeasurable gold we have access to at our very fingertips.
This Lenten season we will be on a journey called “Less is More,” inspired by Renovare.
The topic for the remainder of this week is Confession: Less Guilt/More Grace. So thinking back to the opening quote by Steve Weins, let’s enter into this season with humble hearts, admitting we are broken, imperfect, and flawed. YET deeply and wholly loved by the Most High. When we have the boldness to confess not only to God, but to each other, in an authentic community, barriers crumble. We realize we are not the only ones filled with guilt and shame.
Sometimes it’s hard to know how or what to pray. In those moments I turn to the Psalmists.
Pray as David prayed (after the Prophet Nathan came to him after he committed adultery with Bathsheba) in Psalm 51:1-3
“Have mercy on me, O God,
because of your unfailing love.
Because of your great compassion,
blot out the stain of my sins.
2 Wash me clean from my guilt.
Purify me from my sin.
3 For I recognize my rebellion;
it haunts me day and night.”
What do you need to release to God?
Pray the words of David in Psalm 51:10-12
“Create in me a clean heart, O God.
Renew a loyal spirit within me.
11 Do not banish me from your presence,
and don’t take your Holy Spirit[a] from me.
12 Restore to me the joy of your salvation,
and make me willing to obey you.”
What would it look like for you to be washed clean of past sin?
Similar to last year, we will be offering a way to enter this Lenten season through photos. Each week we will be thinking about a topic, listed below, and I would encourage you all to take a photo inspired by the topic, and post it to your instagram (or facebook or twitter) and also comment it on the blog post, with #tapestrylent