I stole this image from my favorite Austin cookie maker, Hayley Cakes and Cookies. I love her cookies and creativity, but this one really struck a chord with me. Yesterday was hard. My students are stressed out! A kid in my room yesterday said, “My mom is mad at me, I can’t do anything right.” and three other kids chimed in and said, “Me, too!”. This is not a criticism of parenting but rather an indicator of the stress our families are under. Kids are struggling picking up where they left off eleven days ago. Their parents are stressed about missed work, empty shelves at the grocery store, the water supply, so much time together without the things we’ve come to rely on to release stress (music, video games, solitude) not even considering those who sustained property damage. Usually snow days in Texas are fun, make an ugly grassy “snowman”, enjoy a day off but this was not that, our faith in this creation we serve was shattered and is only compounded by what we have been through because of stinking COVID. I left fried yesterday and it was only Monday, and I didn’t go home to kids with homework, and I didn’t go home to storm damage (I did go home to a little dog damage, but that’s not unusual) and most importantly I’m not a kid!
Lent is an important tool in the inescapable battle that rages in all our hearts between worship and service of the Creator and worship and service of the creation. Lent calls us to remember once again that sin reduces us all to idolaters somehow, someway. It gives us a season to take time and reflect on things that have taken too strong a hold on us, things that we have come to crave too strongly and love too dearly. It reminds us that often things that we are holding tightly have actually taken an even tighter hold us (p 30).Paul Tripp, Journey to the Cross
Lent begs us to pause and man oh man do we need a pause about now! Day six of Journey to the Cross challenges us to focus on death and all the ways that Christ calls us to die to ourselves.. “We are called to die to that life where we did what we wanted to do, when we wanted to do it, and how we wanted to do it. We are called to die to setting our own rule and living however we please” (p 42). This dying to ourselves doesn’t just happen, everything in us screams for control, comfort, relief. Death is ugly but it brings mourning and mourning brings healing. Lent calls us to consider, even while we live in a time that our consideration seems to have been stripped away from us, that sin tightly grips us and we need a Savior. And in that Savior, we find healing and hope. While we’ve lost much of our illusion of control without time to psyche ourselves up to deal with it or prepare, we have a small window of 40 days to stop and consider and prepare to celebrate again our resurrected Savior! To look beyond the current state of creation, your own life and consider: What areas need to die to make room for greater, more abundant life in Christ?