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Posts Tagged ‘keys’

ash-wednesdayTonight our church entered Lent with two Ash Wednesday services. One of the themes was “keys” and how we can use those keys to unlock those places hidden away inside our hearts.

Even now,” declares the Lord, “return to me with all your heart, with fasting and weeping and mourning.” Rend your heartand not your garments. Return to the Lord your God, for he is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and abounding in love, and he relents from sending calamity. [Joel 2:12-13]

We mark the beginning of Lent with this day. It can become a mere ritual of ashes, bread, and wine, or it can be enriched with commitment and desire. Do I want more of God in my life? Do I want to surrender the secret places?

Lent is not just a time of “giving something up.” It’s a time of exchange. I will to exchange one time sucker, one habit, for something new, for devotion, for meditation, for prayer, for reading, for conversation with Spirit. I not taking away. I am adding. I am making a promise. That is the message of Ash Wednesday and Lent for me.

One of the stations we had was a cross where we could affix a simple post-it note with something (or someone) that is hindering our journey to the Cross. This roadblock we gave to Christ. As one of the organizers of the Ash Wednesday service, I feel compelled to treat these requests with respect. And so, as part of my devotion, I will be praying over and with these requests along with those who left them there. I will be their Aaron for these 40 days, as God reveals.

 

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Weekend message was actually quite provocative for me as Pastor elaborated on Matthew 16:19, “I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.”

And I thought about the process of using those keys to bring others to and through the door of the kingdom… the door Christ Jesus, the kingdom of God. And I began fantasizing even more about the “events” that would be authentic enough to reveal the heart of the matter… where the invitation into the kingdom would not be cliche, but mezmerizing and creative and thought-provoking and unexpected and tantalizing and refreshing and hope-filled and loving!!!!!

I have been a Christ follower almost 30 years! And yet I remember my “sinner’s prayer” where I, alone in my brother’s guest room on Christmas Eve, confessed that I believed the Word of God to be true, that Jesus was indeed who He said He was, and that mysteriously, what He did on the cross was significant and meaningful and life-changing … for me! And so, I asked that I might become a follower of Jesus… the door opened. But before I went in, I had one proviso … just don’t make me a Christian.

When I tell this story, everyone laughs… somehow, it resonates… they know what I mean. But here’s the sad part: somehow, it still feels that way. Oh, there have been long seasons where I have worn the mantle very well, but there have also been times when I have bristled under it’s narrow confines.

Today, more than ever … if I am going to be one of the holders of the keys … then I just want to use it to open the door, not hand out the rules. The way is narrow enough without me adding my versions of stumbling blocks.

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