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Lent is a time for Christians to fully examine their relationship with the Lord. Through prayer, sacrifice and service, we develop an understanding of what it means to "take up your cross and follow me." (Mark 8:34) As Christians, we are called to live Christ's life- not to study the life of Jesus and try to be like Him, but actually let Him live through us.

In my own journey this Lent, Our Lord is asking me to fully understand His love. Through several prayer experiences, I hear him calling me to this deeper understanding of His love- not just with my head, but with my heart. And the key to understanding that amazing love is to understand His suffering. My intellect understands that the Lord suffered, but I have never explored His suffering with my heart. His love is greater than His suffering, but how great was that suffering?

I am participating in an independent Threshold Bible Study called People of the Passion by Stephen J. Binz. In this study, I will explore the meaning of discipleship through the people who encounter Jesus during His passion. These people witness and are impacted by the suffering of Jesus. They saw the suffering of our Lord first hand. It is my hope that by going on this journey through their eyes, I will have a better understanding of His suffering and then of His love.

Please know that I am not a scholar. I have no formal education in theology, philosophy or church history. I'm just a regular person trying to make sense of what Jesus is asking me to do- to love like He loves.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Day 1- The Widow

Mark 12: 38-44

In this passage, Jesus contrasts the actions of the scribes and the tithing of the wealthy with the gift of the widow.  The widow gave more than any of the wealthy because she gave everything and entrusted her very life to God.  She gave God all she had and trusted that He would provide for her.  In that action, she is a model disciple. In her surrender, she participates in the agape love God wants to share with us.  Agape love is a total giving of one's self to the other- its completely self-less.  The Father and Son share this love in the trinity and it is so rich and powerful that it gives rise to the Holy Spirit.  Jesus further demonstrates this love by sacrificing His life so that we may have life with God.  All we have to do is surrender like the widow.

Do I surrender?  Do I give everything?  Am I like the scribes who are looking for glory?  Or am I like the wealthy who only give from their abundance?  Is there any chance I could be like the widow?

I have to admit, that I like the glory.  Who wouldn't?  My attraction to glory probably has something to do with the fact I'm a musician.  The stage is a fun place to be.  The attention is rather intoxicating.  The other day, my husband went to a local catholic bookstore and the owner figured out that I was his wife- that he was married to that columnist on  That felt good.  But I also felt a little uneasy.  I write because that is what I am called to do- not because I want the attention.  In fact, the attention can be rather unnerving because I am called to be completely naked in my spiritual journey to an audience I can't see.  And I know that Jesus is using my vulnerability to touch people.  He is using my candid, laborious, and sometimes humiliating experiences to draw people to His heart.  That is why I write.  So that He may be on the stage. Unfortunately, I fear there are some days when He has to break out his shepherd's hook to get me out of the lime light. I guess I gotta keep working on that.

Surrender.  That is a big word.  Surrender is scary.  Loosing control of my life is something I fear.  I don't have the ability to just totally surrender like the widow.  I think that surrender is more of a process for me.  There are some areas of my life that I think I have surrendered, and then, come to find out, not so much.  Like my business for instance.  I have surrendered to the fact that I know God wants me to be a home child care provider.  He made that path crystal clear to me, so I did it.  But surrendering the well-being of my business is a totally different issue.  I have to trust that he is going to send me the clients.  Instead, I sit around and worry about not having the clients.  This past month has been a big lesson in trust.  When I finally quit worrying about filling my last two openings, I filled them.  And the kiddos are a perfect fit in my home.  I could hear God saying, "I told you so."  Yes, I have to trust and give both coins like the widow.  I was holding onto that last coin with all my might.  When I finally let go, boom, the clients came knocking. 

I think that I need to remember that sometimes, there will be suffering in the surrender.  Jesus suffered greatly when he surrendered His life on the cross.  But He did it because His love for us is greater than His pain on the cross.  And that is what we should do.  We should surrender and take on the suffering that may come with it because our love for the Lord is greater and more important than our suffering in the surrender.  I think there is much joy to be had in that kind of surrender.  I need to remember that the next time He asks me to lay a piece of my heart on the altar.

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