Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Lent Day 1: Ash Wednesday

Lent is here. 40 days of celebration, deprivation, or both. Depends on your viewpoint. I'm sitting in an airport, typing on a tablet rather than my speedy keyboard. Our ticket said that our 7:30 flight might fly out at 9. We were rebooked with another airline after the original one was delayed twice and then cancelled. The current plane was just been put into maintenance, so who knows. The attendant says the flight doesn't come in until later, so we will miss our connection.

Life is full of inconveniences. But for some who wear the cross of ashes on their foreheads today, any inconvenience would be more tolerable than their daily life of suffering. As did the Apostle Paul, they identify with the persecution and rejection of Christ. Many don't know each morning if they will be killed or punished that day for their faith in Jesus.

Listening to the demands of disgruntled passengers around us, I reflected on the difference between deprivation and inconvenience. We were sitting in a warm lounge, leather seats conforming to weary bodies. The hot cup of tea steamed beside me, and my stomach was full from a good meal at a Vietnamese restaurant earlier. This Ash Wednesday ushers in the Lenten season with more favor and abundance than we could ever earn. May God's blessings be with us all as we begin the journey of remembering the price paid for our salvation.

Read more:
*Whom have I in heaven but you? And there is nothing on earth that I desire besides you. My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever. Psalm 73:25-26 ESV

*O Lord, you are my refuge, my portion in the land of the living. Psalm 142:5 ESV

*In Christ Jesus we may approach God with freedom and confidence. Ephesians 3:12 NIV

Moravian Prayer: Loving Savior, we look to you when troubles arise, when our spirit grows faint. You, Lord, are our safe haven and our protector. Help us not to be discouraged when sufferings occur, but to come to you with freedom and confidence. Thank you for always being our strong support. Amen.

An observation made in the Screwtape Letters by CS Lewis: Screwtape outlines a fundamental deception:

"Men are not angered by mere misfortune but by misfortune conceived as injury. And the sense of injury depends on the feeling that a legitimate claim has been denied. The more claims on life, therefore, that your patient can be
induced to make, the more often he will feel injured and, as a result, ill-tempered. Now you will have noticed that nothing throws him into a passion so easily as to find a tract of time which he reckoned on having at his own disposal unexpectedly taken from him. It is the unexpected visitor (when he looked forward to a quiet evening), or the friend’s talkative wife (turning up when he looked forward to a tête-à-tête with the friend), that throw him out of gear. Now he is not yet so uncharitable or slothful that these small demands on his courtesy are in themselves too much for it. They anger him because he regards his time as his own and feels that it is being stolen. 

"You must therefore zealously guard in his mind the curious assumption ‘My time is my own’. Let him have the feeling that he starts each day as the lawful possessor of twenty-four hours. Let him feel as a grievous tax that portion of this property which he has to make over to his employers, and as a generous donation that further portion which he allows to religious duties. But what he must never be permitted to doubt is that the total from which these deductions have been made was, in some mysterious sense, his own personal birthright."


  1. That flight was cancelled. We had to go to the ticket counter. And were supposed to wait until morning for a 5am flight. A Christian family was just leaving the counter with the same hassle they were driving to the airport 1.5 hours away and we hitched a ride with them. Sitting in Charlotte NC on the plane. We should be in Memphis about midnight. Pray for W who presents his paper tomorrow. 

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