Thursday, March 10, 2011

preparing our hearts for Easter

I can’t seem to follow through in giving up for Lent.

Which makes me want to just give up Lent.

Which makes me question Who I am following.

Which may precisely be the point of Lent. 

- Ann  Voskamp (surprise, surprise :)

I never grew up observing Lent. Celebrating Easter is one of my favorites, and yet it always seems to sneak up on me. Like it comes and goes in one day, and I don’t let it fully wake me up to realize the implications. 
He is Risen!

So when I read this today, something resounded deep within.

Let the things of this world fall away so the soul can fall in love with God. God only comes to fill the empty places and kenosis is necessary — to empty the soul to know the filing of God. But the flesh is corrupt. I can’t do it…And there is Jesus. Jesus with a crown of thorns. Jesus bent low, God carrying my rotting mess, 
Grace doing what I cannot do.

Lent gives me this gift: the deeper I know the pit of my sin, the deeper I’ll drink from the draughts of joy.

I know I just about pasted her entire post. But it has me thinking. There are two reasons I have avoided Lent until now. One is that I don’t believe that giving anything up is what makes us acceptable to God. His favor is not found in what we can or cannot do. But in what Christ has done, once for all. Two is that well, who wants to give up something if they don’t truly understand the benefit of it?

All day I’ve been trying to contemplate what. Isn’t that the buzz around this time? The phrase let the things of this world fall away so the soul can fall in love with God keeps ringing in my mind. What is the trivial, stuff of this world that is keeping me from more of Him?

Let’s face it. See ya later, facebook.

I'm not saying it is wrong. I’m just saying I want this Easter to be different. I don’t want to be like the crowds waving their palm branches, singing His praise when the sun is shining and there is celebration in the air...But when there is sacrifice and a cross to carry, to hide in the shadows and want no part.  
I want more of Him, less of me.

Hosanna (or, as Jude sings Josué Yellow :) 
Hosanna in the Highest!

Edit:  I lay in bed last night after posting this, thinking about this term Hosanna, wanting to understand more.  Here's what I found:

Our English word "hosanna" comes from a Greek word "hosanna" which comes from a Hebrew phrase hoshiya na.  And that Hebrew phrase is found one solitary place in the whole Old Testament, Psalm 118:25, where it means, "Save, please!" It is a cry to God for help. Like when somebody pushes out off the diving board before you can swim and you come up hollering: "Help, save me" … "Hoshiya na!"
But something happened to that phrase, hoshiya na. The meaning changed over the years. In the psalm it was immediately followed by the exclamation: "Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!" The cry for help, hoshiya na, was answered almost before it came out of the psalmist's mouth. And over the centuries the phrase hoshiya na stopped being a cry for help in the ordinary language of the Jews. Instead it became a shout of hope and exultation. It used to mean, "Save, please!" But gradually it came to mean, "Salvation! Salvation! Salvation has come!" It used to be what you would say when you fell off the diving board. But it came to be what you would say when you see the lifeguard coming to save you! It is the bubbling over of a heart that sees hope and joy and salvation on the way and can't keep it in.
So "Hosanna!" means, "Hooray for salvation! It's coming! It's here! Salvation! Salvation!"
And "Hosanna in the highest!" means, "Let all the angels in heaven join the song of praise. Salvation! Salvation! Let the highest heaven sing the song!"
The word moved from plea to praise; from cry to confidence.
So when we sing "Hosanna" now, let's make it very personal. Let's make it our praise and our confidence. The Son of David has come. He has saved us from guilt and fear and hopelessness. Salvation! Salvation belongs to our God and to the Son! Hosanna! Hosanna in the highest!
- John Piper

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