This always is one of the central messages of Lent is this:
No pretending; no denial …
Thus, this morning I did what I have done hundreds of times. I followed the advice of one of my heroes in the faith John Stott. I first read my Lenten readings from the Bible. I reflected on them for a long while and prayed. I made some notes in my journal.
Then I read the morning news.
And I held in tension, as I often do, the promises of God’s Word and the news of the day, which often is not very good.
Try it …
* First read Hebrews 2:10-18 (one of the Lenten readings for today from the Lectionary I am using). Read it slowly. Ponder it for a few seconds. Ask yourself, “What might God be saying to me from this passage?”
* Then take a look at the news of the day, particularly this story from the front page of today’s (3/10/2014) New York Times. You won’t really have to even read the whole story. Just look at the picture and read the first two paragraphs. You’ll quickly get the idea.
* Where will that leave you? Well, holding Hebrews 2:10-18 in one hand and the news of the day in the other. I can imagine it will make you feel the way it makes me feel — like there is a very tight rope in my brain. And on top of that tight rope I am precariously standing, feeling quite vulnerable.
From atop that rope in my brain this morning I said to the Lord:
— From dust I came and to dust I shall return... (Genesis 3:19)
— Unless the Lord builds the house, it will not be built. (Psalm 127)
Then for several minutes I sat in my desk chair, silently pondering the tension I felt, listening to my breathing, my inhaling and my exhaling. Before I finally arose to go fix breakfast I said, “This is the day that the Lord has made. I will rejoice and be glad in it.”