“Even now,” declares the LORD, “return to me with all your heart, with fasting and weeping and mourning.” Rend your heart and not your garments. Return to the LORD your God, for God is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and abounding in love, and he relents from sending calamity.
- Joel 2:12-13
As Ash Wednesday and Lent approach, we are reminded that part of this experience is more than a plan to “do without” or “to give up something” during the duration of this Church Liturgical Season. Of course, it is still a time to respond to what this season brings, as it is more than just a “40 day” season: It is meant to be a life change for us.
So, how is our life changing this year or this Season? For us, it may initiate our understanding that it is first and only an “Invitation” and not just a response. The invite comes for us to return to the LORD with all our hearts. We are asked to do it earnestly with who we are and where we are before the LORD, as no one else knows us: bare and exposed.
I don’t know about you, but I am uncomfortable with being bare and exposed. I am more comfortable with being protected and unexposed to any ills of this world. Aren’t we all? So, what is it that the world does not see which the LORD does see? Perhaps, like me, there is a host and litany of things for which I would not want the world to see or know about me, which the LORD sees and knows. God is reminding us in the words of Joel that God intends for us to seek refuge away from the harsh reality of where we know, the world knows, and God knows we fall short.
“Falling short” is not meant to be guilt ridden, but rather a point of freedom from that which holds us back from reaching our fullest potential before we go into eternity and the World to come. The LORD assures us even now that we are met with Grace and Compassion. So, if it is grace and compassion, then why do we not submit and accept the invite?
Help us even now to submit ourselves to YOU this Lent. May we see it as an opportunity to bourn anew to YOU. Help us to begin again today that we might know YOU as YOU wish and know and accept ourselves as YOU know us. Help us Lord to trust YOU as YOU help us to become more than we could have imagined. All to YOUR glory, in Christ Jesus. Blessed be the tie that binds. Amen
Prayer and message by Pastor Randy J. Cirksena
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Reverend Obadele St. George, Pastor
Cain's Chapel Missionary Baptist Church