Rejocing During Lent? Inconcievable? Not at All!
Devotional THought of the Day:
25 Then David and the elders of Israel and the generals of the army went to the house of Obed-edom to bring the Ark of the LORD’s Covenant up to Jerusalem with a great celebration. 26 And because God was clearly helping the Levites as they carried the Ark of the LORD’s Covenant, they sacrificed seven bulls and seven rams. 27 David was dressed in a robe of fine linen, as were all the Levites who carried the Ark, and also the singers, and Kenaniah the choir leader. David was also wearing a priestly garment. 28 So all Israel brought up the Ark of the LORD’s Covenant with shouts of joy, the blowing of rams’ horns and trumpets, the crashing of cymbals, and loud playing on harps and lyres. 29 But as the Ark of the LORD’s Covenant entered the City of David, Michal, the daughter of Saul, looked down from her window. When she saw King David skipping about and laughing with joy, she was filled with contempt for him. 1 Chronicles 15:25-29 (NLT)
16 “To what can I compare this generation? It is like children playing a game in the public square. They complain to their friends, 17 ‘We played wedding songs, and you didn’t dance, so we played funeral songs, and you didn’t mourn.’ Matthew 11:16-17 (NLT)
1 Don’t let your life be sterile. Be useful. Blaze a trail. Shine forth with the light of your faith and of your love. With your apostolic life wipe out the slimy and filthy mark left by the impure sowers of hatred. And light up all the ways of the earth with the fire of Christ that you carry in your heart. (1)
Tonight my church will gather to celebrate the love of God. Perhaps it is more accurate to say God will gather them, for that too is part of the celebration.
We are in the beginning days of Lent, just a week ago we celebrated Ash Wednesday, with a service that…could only be called a celebration. It wasn’t just that we had a much larger group than is our pattern. It was the idea that people gathered, and with reverent smiles they were marked with ashes, knowing that this reminder of their sin, which grieves them, would be accompanied by another trip forward, to receive the Body and Blood of Christ, proof that God wouldn’t leave them in ashes, that they would not be left in the dust.
That’s something to rejoice in, that’s something to celebrate, and even…like King David, dance over.
Yes, like Isiah, we are people who sturggle with sin, (and sometmies struggle is a strong word) , who live in a world that more and more rejoices in sin. This is indeed something we should grieve over, it is something that we should never be callous about either. Christ grieved and wept as He looked over Jeruslaem, the prophets wept as they reminded Isarel of what would be the consequences of their sin, especially their abandoning their relationship with God in order to choose idols of their own making. Even so, Jesus went on to the cross, to do something about that grief, just as the prophets would foretell not just of doom and judgment, but of the glory of Christ incarnation, death and resurrection, and what it means.
So to, our journey of Lent, the remorse and grief we find as we review our lives, is tempered by the glory of God. The shear joy of realizing that we will soon be in Holy Week, Good Friday, Easter Sunday! The joy of knowing that our grief has been dealt with, our expectation of God’s promises have been fulfilled. This is also a season of expectation, a season of hope that is guaranteed by the presence of the Holy Spirit! How can we not be excited y the promise, and knowing it is fulfilled in Christ.
And so each service is a mini-lent to easter celebration, from the death of sin, to the resurrection to life in Christ, celebrated as we feast together at the altar (and on Wednesday nights, at the table)
Rejioce? How can I not, when the glory of God is present, when His people are gathered together, when He gives us life and shares with us His mercy, His peace, His love?
As we walk through lent, even as the priests and David walked with God toward the Holy CIty, let us rejoice in His glory. As well, may the light of His glory draw all to Him.
(1) Escriva, Josemaria (2010-11-02). The Way (Kindle Locations 171-173). Scepter Publishe(1rs. Kindle Edition.
Posted on March 12, 2014, in Devotions, Theology in Practice and tagged Abiding in Christ, Celebration, Communion, Eucharist, Expecation, glory of God, God's promises, grief, Israel, joy, King David, Lent, Mourning, St Josemaria Escrica. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.