The Joy of Lent: Week 1 – The Joy of Finding Refuge
The Joy of Finding Refuge
† I.H.S. †
May this Lent be a time of deep self-evaluation that leads you to recognize how incredible the grace of God is, as it provides to us a refuge in Jesus. AMEN!
Groaning to God
The season we call Lent begins tonight. It is the darkest of seasons in the church year.
It is a season to cry out to God, in much the same manner as the psalmist did. Here the beginning of his cry again,
O LORD, hear me as I pray; pay attention to my groaning. 2 Listen to my cry for help, my King and my God, for I pray to no one but you. 3 Listen to my voice in the morning, LORD. Each morning I bring my requests to you and wait expectantly
How many of you have groaned to God today?
How many people are willing to communicate
with God the way they post comments on Social Media? Or the way groan when
talking with friends over a beer, or over coffee and doughnuts?
How many of us groan about the absolute wickedness we see in the world, the sins that are so blatant, the pride that causes men and women to say the scriptures are wrong, and what they are doing is not murder, is not adultery, is not gossip, that what they think is not based in jealousy?
Pleasure in wickedness,
We want to rejoice in the psalm because it says that God destroys those who lie, that He hates those who hurt others, who will deceive people.
And the Psalmist prays that such people will be caught in their own traps.
Hmmm. Wait a second! do we really want to pray that? If we prayed that all sinners, all who rebel against God be driven away, we better examine ourselves.
Because some of you lied today.
and some of you wanted someone to get what’s coming to them, and you wanted revenge.
Some of you had a problem with thoughts of adultery. That you wished you had a romantic, fulfilling life like those people on television or in that book.
Others of you had a problem with authority,
not want to pray that God bless them, and perhaps you even asked God to strike
them dead, or damn them, or at least get them out of authority, to get them out
of our lives.
We need to evaluate our own lives, we need to see the depth of our sin, and grieve over it. Really grieve, because we realize the pain our sin causes God, because we realize the position we place Him in, where He has to punish the sin, He has to condemn it.
And therein is the problem that Lent is made for, a time to take seriously our lives, to examine them, and see our need to change, our need to repent.
Yet we can sing… we are safe, protected and because
At the same time, our sorrow is not without hope, it is Godly sorrow. Godly in the way that the Holy Spirit is convicting us of our sin, and yet guiding us to a confession of that sin that will lead us into a period of great joy The ashes we wear, they are not without hope, for the mark you are marked with, the sign of the cross, testifies to the end of lent. The cross where Jesus would hang by His wrists and His ankles, because of the joy set before him.
For in His death, as we are drawn into Him, we find refuge, we find peace, we find joy.
For as He dies, the power of sin dies as well, and we are finally set free.
Lent is about looking at our sins with Good Friday and Easter there, a time when realizing our brokenness results in realizing our healing.
When realizing that we approach the altar for forgiveness, and find we are drawn back, to share in Christ
And so like Jesus, we look to the joy that is set before us, and endure the cross, for it transforms us, it gives us refuge, it brings us peace.