19 March 2006

This Lent, so far

Even before the ... episode ... chronicled below, God had been steering my heart this Lent into a different sort of practice.

1. I am being led to know joy.

Now, this sounds very non-Lent to me. Lent is about sacrifice. Suffering. Uniting with Jesus on the Way of the Cross, etc.

But, in my meditation and prayer, God brought it home to me that Lent is about turning towards Him, and listening, and discipline. And the root of all healthy discipline is accepting God's love, and obeying His will.

I am one of those whose walk with Christ was originally joyous, but who, in recent years, has been sad and downcast. That has led to my second understanding about this Lent - the fast I am to observe.

I'm a person who (obviously) likes predictability and structure in worship. Furthermore, I tended to use a lot of commentaries and annotated Bibles.

2. God's leading this Lent was: let it go. Leave it behind.

I just very clearly knew that I was to set aside all the commentaries and words by people - however well-meaning or educated - and let God speak to me directly from the Word.

There will be those who would read that and react with fear. I certainly have a part of me which does. After all, who am I, a mere mortal, to understand what God says? What about all the layers of meaning? The textual criticism? The ...

Jesus didn't do that.

He sat down, and he preached. The people were saved.

The call has seemed very clear: I am to fast, this Lent, from the explanations, and feed directly on the Word of God.

This hasn't been easy. I've clung to my study Bibles and commentaries and other books. They've gotten me through tough times. But, for this forty days of Lent, I need to put them aside.

I have been obedient. I have used only Bibles with cross-references. The most commentary I will use is that in the New Jerusalem Bible, which is less application-based and more textual.

And God has taught me.

May His Name be praised.

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