I grew up thinking faith was all about doing the right thing and not messing up. I felt I needed to earn God’s attention, love, and grace. I reduced Christianity to a list of rules and put God at the top of a staircase I was determined to climb. I was quick to judge, was shamefully proud, and constantly feared my own failure.
I was a mess.
I am not sure how or when all of this began to shift in my mind, but eventually I came to realize that I didn’t have to earn God’s love. Time and time again I was humbled by the experience of God’s grace. I fell into new depths of gratitude and discovered that holiness was not good marks on a chalkboard but a gift. This gift nudged me away from the values of the world and toward God’s values of love, gratitude, and faithfulness.
This fundamental shift in my understanding is what brings me to this holy calling this Lenten season.
Ash Wednesday marks the beginning of Lent. We have been in “ordinary time” according to the liturgical calendar, but will soon no longer be the case. We are about to enter into 40 days and 40 nights of preparing ourselves for this long Lenten walk to the cross and beyond.
Lent is a season set apart. Lent is a season specifically set apart for a reason. And I believe the reason for this Lenten season is for us to respond to this fundamental shift as well as our holy invitation issued to us by our Holy God.
The first chapter of First Peter says:
As he who called you is holy, be holy yourselves in all your conduct; for it is written, ‘You shall be holy, for I am holy.’
I do not believe this is an impossible command beyond our reach. Rather, I believe this is our scriptural invitation to live the life we were created to live. A life filled with joy and wonder. A life filled with purpose and hope. A life filled with belonging and potential.
Whether this is all brand new to you or whether you simply want to be more intentional in the Spirit’s sanctification this season – I would encourage you to join me on this holy journey in this Lenten season.
There are a couple of ways to go about this:
- This all stems from a book I wrote last year for Chalice Press entitled, BE HOLY. You can order a copy through the publisher or Amazon or B&N or AbeBooks … or you could simply read more about it here and wait for the audiobook to be released within the next month.
- That book is what led Presbyterians Today to ask me to write their 2016 Lenten Devotional also entitled “Be Holy”. You can order copies of that here or you can read them online each day via twitter or facebook. Each day includes a Scripture passage, a reflection on what it means to be holy, and a breath prayer to carry with you throughout each day.
- PC(USA) pastor and author, Mihee Kim-Kort, and I have partnered together to create a special 8-episode series on her podcast THIS EVERYDAY HOLY which begins this Ash Wednesday and goes all the way through Good Friday. You can listen to the episodes here or download them through the iTunes store.
- I have also partnered with videographer Scott Pardue to produce a couple of videos based on the three main sections of the book that are inherent within our calling to BE HOLY: 1) Find Identity, 2) Find Belonging, 3) Find Purpose. These will be released throughout the coming weeks as they are ready and Lord willing!
I am glad you have begun this journey, and I am honored to go on it with you. Lent is a sacred journey that has been set apart—a holy journey that we are invited to take with our Holy God.