As Easter season is fully upon us it seems prudent to take time to reflect on the ultimate sacrifice Jesus made for all of us for all time. I have friends that give up Facebook for Lent or various things definitively seen as worldly. I haven’t followed their lead because I tend to resist doing things (or not doing) that are trite and trivial in the first place. At the risk of sounding pious: if there is something I should sacrifice for Lent, perhaps I simply should let that go.
Lent, the forty days leading up to Easter, calls me to stop and reflect, pray and try to get my mind around what happened on the cross. Christmas is all about celebrating the birth of Jesus, Easter about the death and resurrection. I can get pretty excited about a baby being born–after witnessing the miracle of birth of our four daughters, but it’s hard to get excited about the brutal torture and death of Jesus, even though I know resurrection is around the corner. It’s hard because death is not something I celebrate and resurrection is beyond my comprehension.
One of the new songs I’ve learned at Hope Fellowship (thanks to Worship Pastor, Beth Ehlert) is based on Psalm 139. Simply titled 139, the song’s third verse is short is punctuated by whole notes that tell me to listen to these words carefully:
I open up my heart please search me through
Does anything displease you?
Lead me in the way of the cross.
139, David Moore, © 2012 Gateway Create Publishing
When first heard the song the question “Does anything displease you?” haunted me, it stuck out so boldly. I imagine God’s answer to that is something like, “Sit down boy, I have a list of things that displease me…”
Search me, God, and know my heart;
test me and know my anxious thoughts.
See if there is any offensive way in me,
and lead me in the way everlasting.
After a short rest the song picks up the answer that is beyond comprehension: the cross. On the cross Jesus covered my sins–all of my sins. He covered sin for all who would daily pick up their cross and follow him (Matthew 16:24).
This year I will stop. Listen to the whole notes. Ask God to search me, to even test me, but when I fail: lead me in the way everlasting. I might even take time to go through the Stations of the Cross to guide my thoughts. In any case, this is a season to listen to the whole notes and hear what God is saying.