This devotion is part of a series that I’m planning to write throughout Lent talking about the “re-” words that appear in scripture.
If the restoration and redemption of Easter is the destination, then where did the journey start?
To get a glimpse, here are some words of Jesus from the parable of the Prodigal Son.
“Jesus continued: “There was a man who had two sons. The younger
one said to his father, ‘Father, give me my share of the estate.’
So he divided his property between them. “Not long after that,
the younger son got together all he had, set off for a distant
and there squandered his wealth in wild living.
- Luke 15:11-13 (NIV)
March 6 marked Ash Wednesday and the beginning of the church season we call Lent. Ash Wednesday is always 40 days (not counting Sundays) before Easter and, if you’ve never experienced it, Ash Wednesday is designed as a “time to remember.” Pastors and priests marked the foreheads of attendees with a cross of ashes. As part of the service attendees were urged to remember that you come from dust and to dust you will return.
If we are honest, it is a sobering moment. No matter how important we might feel or how self righteous we might become, we are merely dust (Imagine all of those people blowing away at the end of Avengers: Infinity War). From that point forward, Lent pushes us to return home to God.
Over this period of Lent, this series of devotions will be about returning to God. Maybe it’s sin or other issues that are getting in the way. Maybe you’ve simply lost that feeling of closeness.
But, why do we need to return home? It begins with the fact that, at some point, maybe each day, we engage in our own rebellions against God. It’s called sin and it happens everytime we choose our way over the way and will of God. Get that? We choose our way over God’s way.
At the beginning of Jesus’ parable of the Prodigal Son, we meet someone who becomes quite self righteous. It’s a younger son who wants his father to give him his inheritance now. His father, while still very much alive, honors the son’s request and divides up the estate between his two sons.
Then, in Luke 15:14, the “rejection” of the father really begins. The younger son takes everything his dad has given him and moves to a distant land far away from his father and brother. While he was there, he lost everything through a series of his own choices and mistakes (his sin). His rejection leads him to a separation from his father.
A question we need to ask ourselves is “Do I feel any separation in my relationship with God?” It will be in the places where we are most likely to reject God’s way for our own ways. To begin our path to remembrance, we have to embrace that we are, at times, rejectors for God.
Prayer: Dear God, we confess that we have rejected you by not loving you with our whole heart. We have failed to be obedient and we have not done your will. God, we have broken your laws and we have rejected your love. Help us to overcome our rejection so that we can remember you in this Lent Season. In the name of Jesus, Amen.
(Prayer adapted from Service of Word and Table of the United Methodist Church)