I’ve never really observed Lent. I’m not Catholic. I don’t have to. Right? I’ve never given up something that meant a lot to me for 40 days. Well. I have. I’ve done fasts and cleanses. I’ve gone without chocolate and sweets. Sometimes for longer than 40 days. But that doesn’t mean I was observing Lent.
I’ve never had a cross drawn on my forehead. I’ve never displayed my faith with ashes. Not even for a day.
I’ve read of one who draws a cross in ink on her wrist each day. It serves as a personal reminder of who she is. Whose she is. Of the death someone else died for her. But it’s a temporary reminder she places on her wrist. Each day. It’s not a permanent tattoo. She can wash it off and forget about it. If she chooses.
It’s the same with the ashes. They’re a temporary reminder of a permanent sacrifice given by someone else. Once the ashes are wiped off, no one can see the display of sacrifice. It’s easy to forget.
He must become greater. I must become less. John 3:30
I’ve taken to memorization. Scripture memorization for Lent. It’s a humble act. A laying down of my time. A sacrificial learning of God’s redemptive plan. Romans 8. 39 verses. 40 days. Planting the seed of God’s word deep in my heart. I’m excited to see the seeds grow and blossom.
But is it truly a sacrifice? To memorize Scripture? Shouldn’t it be a continual process rather than a 40 day sacrifice?
My prayer is that this remembrance of the holy inspired words will replace other words and thoughts in my mind and heart. That God’s word will uproot negativity with positive thoughts. That it will surrender any envy of others with praise and respect. That it will dig out any root of bitterness that has burrowed its way into my heart.
Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise. Philippians 4:8
Oh Lord. Work your word into the crevices of my heart. Into the nooks and crannies of my soul. Into those hidden places that only you can fill. Cover me with your presence. From dust I was formed and to dust I will return. Until that day, make your word come alive in me.
Oh. It isn’t easy. The learning of words in a specific order to form a complete thought about God’s love and redemption. It’s reading the words over and over. It’s placing them in front of me at all hours of the day. Trying to cement the words in my heart as an act of obedience to the One who gave his Son for me.
I’ve invited others to join me on this journey. Some say yes. Others are unsure. Perhaps some will choose to fall away from the challenge. There will be those who cross the finish line. To be honest. I’m struggling. It’s taking more time and work than I want. But I know the end result will be worth the struggle. So I continue down the path of hiding these words in my heart. It’s a temporary struggle that will result in a lifetime of remembrance.
I don’t mean to call attention to my act of learning. I’m not looking for praise or reward. This is an act of burning the dried embers of my heart into ashes of praise and thankfulness for my Savior’s sacrifice. It’s the least I can do.
I have died to myself. Daily. I do live for eternity. Daily. I’m covered with Lent.