Psalm 147: 3-6 The Message (MSG)
God‛s the one who rebuilds Jerusalem,
who regathers Israel‛s scattered exiles.
He heals the heartbroken
and bandages their wounds.
He counts the stars
and assigns each a name.
Our Lord is great, with limitless strength;
we‛ll never comprehend what he knows and does.
God puts the fallen on their feet again
and pushes the wicked into the ditch.
Where I live in the USA, as the winter days begin to lengthen and we're getting more daylight, I'm reminded that we are rapidly approaching the season of Lent. That season has now begun--this year, Wednesday, February 10.
Today many will attend Ash Wednesday services and receive ashes on their forehead with the pastor saying words something like this: “Remember, human, that you are dust, and to dust you shall return.” The words, the ashes, are a stark reminder of our own mortality.
Lent gives us a time to acknowledge our own brokenness and those dark, shadowy sides of ourselves that we sometimes try to pretend don't exist. Lent invites us to dig deeper into what we are all about for 40 days. Our introspection is preparing us for the glory of Easter. As Christians we need this seasonal reminder in our lives.
I'm on a book launch team. The book I received to review is titled, “Surprised by the Healer: Embracing Hope for Your Broken Story,” by Linda Dillow and Dr. Juli Slattery. This book includes nine stories and a ten-week bible study that can be used alongside the readings.
I've found some of these stories difficult to read. That is ok. I began to pace my reading, a little at a time, as I wandered into stories that screamed of too much hurt and brokenness. When I finished the stories, however, I was more able to see how the people were surprised by what the Ultimate Healer could do with their brokenness. With the Healer's assistance, the people were able to rewrite their stories as ones now of hope and forgiveness.
God does not abandon God's people in their pain. God walks right besides us, offering us wider views of faith, hope, and love, at work in the world around us. We are never called to be a people living in darkness, despair, and bondage. The Great Physician is constantly inviting us to walk in the Light.
Hold on, Easter will come soon, that giant declaration of the Light capable of eliminating total darkness. We are to be an Easter people! We are called to Hallejuah! Amen!
Questions for thought and Reflection:
- How do you deal with the season of Lent?
- Do you give up something for Lent, such as chocolate? Do you change your habits, such as attending an extra church service each week?
- We are invited to give alms, fast, and pray during this time. How might this look in your life?
- Fasting from food is not the only fasting we can do during Lent. What are some other forms of fasting that might be meaningful to you?
- How could you make a difference in the lives of people living in poverty, or with other challenges, in addition to giving alms?
Consider some of these questions each week, will help to make the Easter time more holy for you.
The season of introspection is now here! It's time to do Lent!
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