But Jesus began to weep

Luke 19:37-44 All of Jesus’ followers began to shout and sing as they walked along, praising God for all the wonderful miracles they had seen . . . But some of the Pharisees among the crowd said, “Teacher, rebuke your followers for saying things like that!” He replied, “If they kept quiet, the stones along the road would burst into cheers!” But as he came closer to Jerusalem and saw the city ahead, Jesus began to weep. “How I wish today that you of all people would understand the way to peace. . . you did not accept your opportunity for salvation.”

Today, Ash Wednesday, we begin to walk with Jesus toward Jerusalem. In the liturgical tradition, Lent is a penitential season, a time when we join Jesus in weeping over our own lost opportunities, all the ways we have turned away from the peace he offers us.

At our church today, we will be encouraged to observe a “holy Lent.” That means, in part, that we will set aside time in the weeks before Easter to sit before God and allow him to show us what is true in our lives that grieves him, because it hurts us and others. To the degree we enter into his grief, we have an opportunity for confession, forgiveness, and transformation. A new beginning.

The challenge of Lent is to embrace disciplines that can encourage us in this Spirit-guided self-reflection, that break into our routines and disequilibrate our status quo. Fasting is one of those disciplines that can impact us at gut level (pun intended). “I’m hungry. Oh yeah. Instead of eating today, I’m using that time to be quiet and still before God, with no distracting screens, so that I can hear him speak to me.”

I can’t think about fasting without thinking of the many, many, many days of her life Karis spent feeling hungry, often desperately so. For her, those were imposed fasts because she simply couldn’t eat. But I’ve often wondered how much her spiritual maturity was nourished during those times of physical malnourishment. Day after day, night after night, she had to fight through to peace, baring herself completely in the presence of her Father. As a young teen, Twila Paris’s “The Warrior Is a Child” was one of her favorite songs. I just listened to it again, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dkQhGSBXsHI

Lately I’ve been winning
Battles left and right
But even winners can get
Wounded in the fight
People say that I’m amazing
Strong beyond my years
But they don’t see inside of me
I’m hiding all the tears

They don’t know that
I go running home when I fall down
They don’t know Who picks me
Up when no one is around
I drop my sword and cry for just a while
‘Cause deep inside this armor
The warrior is a child

Unafraid because His armor is the best
But even soldiers need a quiet place to rest
People say that I’m amazing
Never face retreat
But they don’t see the enemies
That lay me at His feet

They don’t know that I go
Running home when I fall down
They don’t know Who picks me
Up when no one is around
I drop my sword and cry for just a while

‘Cause deep inside this armor

The warrior is a child

Will you join me in letting Karis’s courage encourage me to observe a holy Lent?

Sometimes it’s what UNbalances us that ends up making us strong.

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