Thursday, March 8, 2012
I just had a conversation with a good friend, via computer chat, about Lent and Easter. My friend is Catholic--and a strong believer of the Lord Jesus and one of his beloved children. It is forever fascinating to me to hear of her church's traditions and I think she too likes to hear of my points of view as well. Tonight we were talking about Lent. I've been feeling (belatedly) called to fast and to follow the Lenten traditions despite the fact that this is not something traditionally pursued by my church or by any church that I've ever attended. However I've been reading, for two years now, Ann Voskamp's Lenten musings on her blog (www.aholyexperience.com) and have (at her suggestion) read some of Noelle Piper's Lenten devotions (http://www.desiringgod.org/resource-library/articles/lenten-lights)...In fact, when I went to find the link to Noel's book, I found the other Lenten resources used by Ann Voskamp and I just ordered for my kindle a book by Walter Wangrin on the passion of Christ as well as a book of Lenten readings. Unfortunately, the one book I most wanted of Ann's collection of recommendations, was not available on Kindle....so that one went by the wayside.
Nonetheless...I've been feeling a burning (a kind of a slow aching burn) desire to have "MORE of God"....I've been feeling the same sense of discontent with my sketchy times with God....and a desire to be enveloped in the passion I once had....When did I have this passion? It was following the initial season of my discontent; my sense that there MUST BE MORE than what I'd been experiencing of God. I desired to desire him. I wanted to pursue and find him. And I wanted it more than I wanted food. ]
I went for fifteen days eating only a light supper to avoid hassles with my husband which definitely would have arisen had he known of my prolonged fast. so I ate the bare minimum i could get away with and nothing else all day or night for 15 nights. More importantly; I feasted on God. At the time I read a very basic elementary book...The Purpose-Driven Life by Rick Warren, a book that had- at that time- been recently published and it was prior to the gossip and nastiness that came Warren's way later on. At the time there was no smear on his reputation. And because this was the first serious attempt I made to rejoin the Lord's purpose for my life; because I'd just spent 15 years off doing my own thing and living like a complete pagan. it made sense to read a basic Christianity 101 book....because that's where I was at. And that, combined with my own Bible study (notably in Hebrews 12) and God's opening my eyes to some truths of Scripture as they applied to my own life.....were what formed the structure of my time pursuing God. Back then I was homebound in my wheelchair. I had little else to do besides read and pray....so there was little to interrupt me.
And God came through. Every day of the fifteen days, he outdid himself....each day blowing me more and more completely away with the truths he was opening to my understanding. Finally on the 15th day, I felt that it was complete...That God had accomplished in me that which he'd set out to do. And for the next...I don't know...maybe 6 or 7 years, I would rise at 4:00AM and be so EAGER to dive into my Lord's depths. I couldn't wait to be with him and to learn and study and read. And I grew spiritually. And my prayer life exploded.
UNTIL; my brain melted down. And as I mentioned a couple of days ago, the enemy succeeded then in turning my heart cold once more to the words of God....No longer did I run to his lap. No more do I spend whole nights praying. And this has lasted to this day...I limp along. I stumble to walk at his side. And I'm not cutting it. And I'm not desiring him the way I once did.
But you know? I desire to desire him. I long to long for him. It would please me to please him. So therefore I've thought "what better season to renew my passion, but the holiday of Christ's passion?" And how better to die to myself than to do the Lenten fasts and to learn of the death of Christ and apply it to my own life? How better to be forgiven of the junk in my life but to be sprinkled with the blood from the passover lamb?? And after the season of death will come that glorious morning. the morning of freedom. of New Life. Of Resurrection.
And it was this that my friend and I talked about. We talked about "the good old days" when sunrise services were actually at sunrise. We talked about the Evangelical's propensity to aim the Easter message at the hearts of the Chreasters (those who only attend church on Christmas and Easter) with a barbed logical bid for salvation....Which is fine. and important. But (cough) what about Easter? Why must that get swept under the carpet...? and what of the believers who attend, hearts aching and needing a resurrection day...needing a shot of new LIFE.....Needing to bury some things and to reincarnate others. All of that falls by the wayside. At least it does in my church. And I miss it. I need it. Sorely.
So my friend and I came up with an ingenious plan. We would have OUR OWN sunrise service. At sunrise. Me on my porch in PA and her in her yard in TX. We would make a YouTube playlist and would bring our laptops outside and worship together simultaneously playing the Resurrection Playlist. I would make a list of Sciptures and meditations that I would email her...and we would read together. Pray together. Worship and rejoice in the newness of the life He gives us.
But to make that morning really meaningful...I must clamber first through the stinking waters of self denial and I'm sure; failure. http://www.aholyexperience.com/2012/03/when-your-lent-sort-of-stinks/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+HolyExperience+%28Holy+Experience%29
There is so much here. So much to think on. So much to learn.
But my one desire is to once more desire him.
More than I desire bread
More than i desire drink.
More than I desire.....good things. Physical things. Carnal things. Satisfaction. Repletion. More than I desire all that.
I want to be like the Children of Israel were in the wilderness; lightweight...not bowed down by possessions or connections. Having really nothing but God and my love for God: Nothing to keep me from pulling up tent pegs and saying to the Lord, "Where to now?" as the column of fire and smoke began to stir.... I want to be READY. Willing. and so tuned into his heart that I 'm able to accurately read the moment and know when it is that I 'm to move. Nothing in the way of my motion.