Lent 2017

Lenten Reflections: Listen

The last few mornings I wake up and hear these words, “Listen, O Israel. The Lord your God is one.” You’ll find these words in the sixth chapter of Deuteronomy and it is part of the morning and evening Jewish prayer. These are traditionally the last words to be said before you fall alseep. 

I began hearing the words before I noticed these were the very same words Jesus used in His response to the leaders’ question. “What is the greatest commandment?” In Mark you find Jesus’ answer,

Jesus said, “The first in importance is, ‘Listen, Israel: The Lord your God is one; so love the Lord God with all your passion and prayer and intelligence and energy.’ And here is the second: ‘Love others as well as you love yourself.’ There is no other commandment that ranks with these.”–Mark 12:30-31

And the devotional reading today says,

In a word, there is no point in space, whether within or without the bound of creation, where God is not.–John Wesley

I’m coming to realize no moment in time, no place I am, is void of God. Loving God and others is in every second, every place… every circumstance. So when the young girl came in today asking me to teach her how to fix her top I was a bit stunned.  She’s come into our store a few times. She asked if we would hire her, and even offered her help with no pay. She explains she wants to learn to do what we do. We set up a time for her to come back, but it wasn’t today.

I didn’t really have an hour to spare. No time set apart in my schedule for an alteration tutorial with someone who doesn’t know how to thread a sewing machine. Just minutes before she wanders in all bright and ready to learn, I wrote the words on my arm.

(I know you shouldn’t write on yourself. No lectures please… lol)
I walk back to get a few supplies with my eyebrows raised at the sister and she replies, “Well, you did say you were giving the gift of time for Lent.” Oh my, I did didn’t I. Put it out there for the whole wide world to read… more time to connect with God and others. 
Somewhere along the way I’ve come to believe time is mine. I have twenty-four hours in a day and I get to decide what I’ll do with it. I determine who gets how much and when. I decide… I determine…I… I… I! 
“LISTEN, Stacy, The Lord your God is one!”
God’s creation has become my possession and I’m downright stingy with it. Have you ever noticed when you attempt to keep something for yourself, it eventually keeps you?
I realized today as our heads huddled close over the sewing machine…  there’s freedom in giving it away. 

Jesus answered them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, <span class="crossreference" data-cr="#cen-ESV-26404A" data-link="(A)” style=”box-sizing: border-box; font-size: 0.625em; line-height: 22px; position: relative; top: 0px; vertical-align: top;”>everyone who practices sin is a slave to sin.  <span class="crossreference" data-cr="#cen-ESV-26405B" data-link="(B)” style=”box-sizing: border-box; font-size: 0.625em; line-height: 22px; position: relative; top: 0px; vertical-align: top;”>The slave does not remain in the house forever; <span class="crossreference" data-cr="#cen-ESV-26405C" data-link="(C)” style=”box-sizing: border-box; font-size: 0.625em; line-height: 22px; position: relative; top: 0px; vertical-align: top;”>the son remains forever.  So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.–John 8:34-36
 

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