Thursday, February 22, 2007

Create in Me a Clean Heart

We had an Ash Wednesday service last night, and the words of the anthem I sang with the choir keep ringing in my head: Create in me a clean heart, oh Lord, my God, and renew a right spirit within me.

It’s from Psalm 51. And it’s perfect for this time of repentance, a time to return to God with our whole heart.

The speaker at the service talked about how many of us give up things for Lent, the most common probably being food. I can remember a friend giving up chocolate (and I couldn’t believe it!). And I hope Lindi doesn’t mind me telling that she gave up potatoes one year, which would be even more difficult than chocolate for me! But then the speaker told us that anything we give up should be done in the spirit of wanting to use the time fasting to turn more toward God. She suggested a different type of fast. I’m going to paraphrase a couple of her examples here and add some things I want to work on.

Fast from acquiring, feast on generosity.
Fast from worry, feast on trust that God is on the throne.
Fast from mean words, feast on kindness to others.
Fast from anger and resentment, feast on forgiveness.
Fast from self-sufficiency, feast on dependence on God.

Those are the things I’ll be giving up for Lent this year. And as hard as giving up chocolate or potatoes (or cheese!) would be to me, this may ultimately be harder. But what a reward I'll have in depending on God to help me!

Before receiving the ashes on our foreheads at the service, we prayed this prayer together:

Grant that these ashes may be to us a sign of our mortality and penitence, so we may remember that only by your gracious gift are we given everlasting life. We give you thanks through Jesus Christ our Savior. Amen.

The Ash Wednesday service is always very meaningful to me. We are all dust, and to dust we’ll return. We should repent and believe the gospel.

That’s what I want to do this season. To repent. To draw closer to God. To fast from all the things that keep me from a relationship with Him, and to feast on all the good things He has in store for me.

What would you give up for Lent?

Missy

4 comments:

  1. Potato chips. Because they're something I love and crave, whereas giving up something less important wouldn't seem right.
    Camy

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  2. I don't usually give up anything for Lent. But one year my daughter...then about twenty...gave up FORKS for lent.
    We laughed at her when she told us and she said, "Every time I'm trying to eat something and I need a fork and I have to make due with a spoon or knife or my fingers, I am aware of it and I take a second to think about Jesus dying on the cross."
    I think that's exactly the right reason to give up something for Lent and it made me think about our reasons behind fasting and giving up our favorite treat in a new way.

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  3. Good luck with the chips, Camy. I can't imagine eating a sandwich without them!

    Mary, I love what your daughter did! I would have laughed, too. But she was so clever! And so on target.

    Thanks, ladies, for stopping by. ;)

    Missy

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  4. Hi Missy,
    I really liked your post today. I read it really early but didn't have time to reply then.
    You're right about the remembering part.
    And I'm with Camy. Potatoe chips are the bomb!! That's why it's so hard to give them up.

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