Feb. 13, 2013
John was in the wilderness calling for people to be baptized to show that they were changing their hearts and lives and wanted God to forgive their sins.
Last week, two-and-a-half-year-old Princess Ellie and her younger brother Dylan were in the car with me. We had picked up lunch at Culver’s and planned to eat with Grandpa as we made the switch in providing childcare. While driving back to their house, Ellie wanted to eat in the car. I said that we were going to eat with Grandpa. Then she said, “But my Mommy said I can eat in the car.”
We got back to their house with lunch intact where Ellie tried a new approach. She drug a stool to the cupcakes on the counter we had made. Once again she cited that her Mommy said it was OK for her to have one. Does she get credit for not giving up, despite the same result?
Today is Ash Wednesday; the beginning of the Lenten Season. Lent is a time for Christians to prayerfully and mindfully look at their lives and see where we are not doing such a good job. Where is sin oozing into our lives blindly? Where are we cutting corners spiritually? Where are we moving away from God rather than towards God? Where do we keep doing things over and over expecting different results?
John the Baptist was Jesus’ cousin. He had the brave and dignified job of letting folks know the Messiah had arrived! He wore funny clothes – a camel’s hair tunic and leather belt. He ate only the simplest earthy food, locusts and wild honey. Rather than have you Google “locusts,” they are grasshoppers. Every person’s dream lunch?
His famous words are, “Repent for the kingdom of God is near!” Almost a crowd pleaser. What is repent? Repent is literally to think differently or change one’s mind. In the Biblical context, it means to have a change of mind that leads to a change of heart that leads to a change of values that leads to a changed life.
We sin. We stray from values we desire. We get off course and choose things of the world rather than choosing God. Lent is a time of the year to push the pause button and think about where we need to repent, where we need to change our minds which will change our hearts which will affect our values and ultimately change our lives.
We choose whether the next 40 days will be a time in which we earnestly desire change and go after it. Or we choose if business will be as usually. Who likes to put in the hard work and effort to change? Not many. Rather than trying to change a whole bunch of things and failing, what is just one thing you can repent of this Lent? Maybe it is an attitude, a trait gone bad or a habit. What is the one thing you keep doing over and over and not getting different results? Maybe this where you start this Lent.
Let us pray: Change my heart, O God. Make it ever true. Change my heart O God. May it be like You. Amen.