After what seems like a month of rain (though it hasn’t literally been a month), the sun is shining again, the sky is blue and I have crocus growing in one of my flower beds. We have only lived here since July last year, so I had no idea what flowers might come popping up this spring. I’ve never had crocus before, so their appearance is thrilling to me!
Crocus are my two favorite colors, purple and green. They are such a welcome sight, even though we haven’t had as much snow as I like to have and even though my heart still feels a little reluctant to welcome spring. Still, they are beautiful and bring me joy, especially since they showed themselves during the rainy days and the flooding we’ve been experiencing. They symbolize the first reminders of spring that God makes all things new.
It’s good to be reminded of this during Lent, as I prepare my heart for Easter. I seek renewal during this time every year, in some form or another, as I lean into the hope and truth of the resurrection of Christ and seek His Kingdom to come, on Earth, as it is in Heaven. More and more, as I’m getting older, I seek to be a part of bringing His Kingdom into the here and now of my day-to-dayness. My prayer for Lent is that my habits and disciplines in this time will not only renew me but will spring forth into lasting change that can impact others for the sake of the Kingdom.
This week, since Wednesday, I’ve been focusing on solitude, on more listening and less noise. The first week of Lent, my focus was on confession, more grace and less guilt. I am following a guide for Lent that I got from a weekly email I receive from the Renovare’ Institute. It comes from a book, “Less is More: A Lenten Guide for Personal Renewal, that helps us make space by prompting intentional reflection on the aspects of our lives that stand in the way of walking in God’s spirit. Each week, a classic spiritual discipline provides the entry point for self-examination, God reflection, and godly action.” The weekly foci are as follows:
- Confession: Less Guilt/More Grace
- Solitude: Less Noise/More Listening
- Fasting: Less Consumption/More Compassion
- Simplicity: Less Stuff/More Freedom
- Frugality: Less Spending/More Peace
- Intercession: Less Me/More Others
- Reflective Reading of Holy Week Story: Less Fear/More Love
My weeks are going from Wednesday to Wednesday, since I started with Ash Wednesday. Perhaps you are still trying to find a focus or guide for Lent, or maybe this has drawn your interest to consider Lent in a new way. Feel free to join me as we traverse the weeks ahead toward Easter. I’ll share more each week forward and would love to hear from you!
For now, this week of focusing on less noise and more listening is drawing my attention back to nature and God’s work that is all around us….
19:1 The heavens are telling the glory of God; and the firmament proclaims his handiwork.
19:2 Day to day pours forth speech, and night to night declares knowledge.
19:3 There is no speech, nor are there words; their voice is not heard;
19:4 yet their voice goes out through all the earth, and their words to the end of the world. In the heavens he has set a tent for the sun,
19:5 which comes out like a bridegroom from his wedding canopy, and like a strong man runs its course with joy.
19:6 Its rising is from the end of the heavens, and its circuit to the end of them; and nothing is hid from its heat.
19:7 The law of the LORD is perfect, reviving the soul; the decrees of the LORD are sure, making wise the simple;
19:8 the precepts of the LORD are right, rejoicing the heart; the commandment of the LORD is clear, enlightening the eyes;
19:9 the fear of the LORD is pure, enduring forever; the ordinances of the LORD are true and righteous altogether.
19:10 More to be desired are they than gold, even much fine gold; sweeter also than honey, and drippings of the honeycomb.
19:11 Moreover by them is your servant warned; in keeping them there is great reward.
19:12 But who can detect their errors? Clear me from hidden faults.
19:13 Keep back your servant also from the insolent; do not let them have dominion over me. Then I shall be blameless, and innocent of great transgression.
19:14 Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable to you, O LORD, my rock and my redeemer.