Sunday, February 19, 2012
Will You Take Up the Cross?
Then he said to them all: "Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me."
Today is the last Sunday in the season of Epiphany. Ash Wednesday, February 22, marks the beginning of the penitential season of Lent.
Traditionally, Lent is a time when Christians give up doing something they ordinarily enjoy. Or, enjoy too much. Like candy. Or, dessert. Red meat. Coffee. Soda. Tea.
One year, a friend of mine actually gives up Facebook. I think most of you reading this here would agree - that's some serious self-denial!
Last Lent, I give up playing computer solitaire. I know. That doesn't sound like much of a cross to bear. But, I feel addicted to it. It drains precious time I could spend doing so many other productive, meaningful activities.
It has to go. And, it will go again this time around. Because, after Easter, like an unwanted guest, it creeps back in . . .
But, to me, Lent is not just about giving up something. It is, also, about taking something on. Beginning a new practice or routine which draws me closer to the Lord.
The two disciplines I adopt last Lent are maintaining an organized prayer list and completing a dedicated scripture study.
These habits, thankfully, stay with me. My prayer list is always next to my computer where I see it continually. And, I study the scriptures daily as I prepare my devotions.
So, what am I taking on this Lent?
I am resuscitating some yoga exercises I did years ago but all but abandoned when I began steadily working out in the gym. My body needs the stretching. My mind needs to be in that contemplative place where I can truly be open to hear God's voice.
To listen in the calm and repose.
Make room for His thoughts.
Be still and know . . .
What will you be giving up or taking on this Lent?
Will you pray with me?
During this season of Lent, Father, help us to deny ourselves in joy and obedience to Your will. Bless the new disciplines we decide to take on. In it all, Lord, draw us closer to You. May we, with grateful hearts, take up the cross of Jesus daily. Amen.
Psalms 148, 149, 150 or 114, 115
Ecclesiasticus (Apocrypha) 48:1-11
2 Corinthians 3:7-18