Year of Joy and 40 Days

Year of Joy and 40 Days

lentCandle

I sat in the Ash Wednesday service this morning and every single word was a gift from God to my heart.

I thought of Peter weeping bitterly over his betrayal.  I thought of how Jesus knew all about the mess that was Peter.  How He prayed for him.  How He welcomed him on the beach and said, “Come and have breakfast.

I kept thinking about how Jesus knows me.

How He knows the mess that is me.

How He welcomes me.

And how He calls me to die. 

To die to my false self. My self-centered self.

(So that I can live to my true-self-in-Christ.)

How He calls me to feed His sheep. To live love.

When I die to self then I live to Love.

When I die to self then I live to Joy.

Then I live to JOY!

I wrote the post below several years ago. It speaks a sweet reminder to me today.

40 days to wander, 40 days to die to self
40 days to grow stronger as faith breaks open the gates of hell.
The Jubilee is over, but grace is far from gone
In the hearts of the faithful, broken on the wheels of love.

Chorus:

In the desert of temptation, lies the storm of true conversion,
where springs of living water drown and refresh you
And as the Jordan pours out change,
your true self is all that remains,
where springs of living water bind and break you.

40 days to remember the Paschal sacrifice
40 days to discover as passion calls us to new life
The Jubilee is over but mercy is far from gone
In the arms of the Father as the wayward child comes home.

– Matt Maher –

Several images in this video caught my attention and surprised me. I was captured by the illustrations of Jesus at play, chasing birds, finding joy.

Odd as it may be, I never once thought of Jesus experiencing joy during his 40 days in the wilderness. And yet, something about these simple images stirred my soul.

Why would I think joy was absent when God was present? And I thought of all of the times, when in the midst of hardship and struggle, I have found such joy in surrendered intimacy with my Lord.

In the midst of 40 days of dying to self, in the midst of this season of Lent, there is great joy to be found as death brings forth resurrection. Not just Easter morning resurrection, but present resurrection, living wide awake to God in the midst of the wilderness.

Joy.

Now.

“Where springs of living water bind and break you.”