"Then, the dream. Mary's story is true. What's more, she and her child are caught up, not just in a personal challenge, but in a much older, stranger purpose. God's purpose. God's rescue operation, long expected and at last coming true. The child to be born will be 'Emmanuel', God-with-us. God with us to save us: hence the name 'Jesus', the same word as 'Joshua', the great leader who brought the people of Israel across the Jordan into the promised land. The name means 'Yahweh saves'. God with us; God to the rescue.
Whenever God does something new, he involves people — often unlikely
people, frequently surprised and alarmed people. He asks them to trust
him in a new way, to put aside their natural reactions, to listen humbly
for a fresh word and to act on it without knowing exactly how it's
going to work out. That's what he's asking all of us to do this Lent.
Reading the Bible without knowing in advance what God is going to say
takes humility. Like Joseph, we may have to put our initial reactions on
hold and be prepared to hear new words, to think new thoughts, and to
live them out. We all come with our own questions, our own sorrows and
frustrations, our own longings. God will deal with them in his own way,
but he will do so as part of his own much larger and deeper purposes.
Who knows what might happen, this year, if even a few of us were
prepared to listen to God's word in scripture in a new way, to share the
humility of Joseph, and to find ourselves caught up in God's rescue
This is an excerpt from Lent for Everyone, a Bible reading plan and devotional created by N.T. Wright. I'm undecided what to specifically go without or whether to fast for Lent but definitely want to create space to intentionally sabbath and pray. I love how Emily from Wide Open Spaces describes Lent, "Going without does
my soul good." Another writer Julia Zaher said, "We use things created
by God to keep ourselves from his tender, loving care."
I find Lent important. Time and space to give up, to simplify, to live unexposed, so we can seek God's voice, rest in Him. Are you doing anything to observe Lent?