Listen carefully: Unless a grain of wheat is buried in the ground, dead to the world, it is never any more than a grain of wheat. But if it is buried, it sprouts and reproduces itself many times over. In the same way, anyone who holds on to life just as it is destroys that life. But if you let it go, reckless in your love, you'll have it forever, real and eternal. If any of you wants to serve me, then follow me. Then you'll be where I am, ready to serve at a moment's notice. The Father will honor and reward anyone who serves me. (John 12:24-26, The Message)
A few weeks ago, I was studying a book by Brennan Manning when God laid something on my heart. The message was pretty clear and, in fact, scared me just a bit. Manning was writing about dying to self and the cycle of contemplation that leads up to the Holy Week of Easter. I had already been thinking about our upcoming Sunday School cycle as I had volunteered to teach at least part of one adult class for the next quarter. And that's when God stepped in ...
I've not been raised in a liturgical tradition, but I have had more than a little exposure to it. In my early school years, the Christian school kids and Catholic school kids shared bus routes, so I had an understanding of at least the fundamental concept of Lent even though we never practiced it (or even talked much about it). But God, speaking through the book I was reading, several other thoughts expressed in this blog, and the prompting of His Spirit impressed on me that the class needed to center on the Lenten season, specifically the aspect where we die to self in order to more richly understand and reflect our Savior. I swallowed hard and informed my pastor and the superintendent of what happened - and they greeted my thoughts with affirmation. The challenge was on as there isn't really a set curriculum out there for a non-liturgical perspective on Lent. I would have to do my research, listen to the Spirit, and begin writing.
As a result, the Crooked Path finds itself on a bit of a detour for the next few weeks. I'll still be posting, but instead of the regular format, I will be providing the same reflections and thoughts as I will during the Sunday School class. I'm not sure how this will play out, but I do know one thing ... it will lead us again to the foot of the Cross and a view of the Suffering Savior. I hope it will instill in me the desire to live a more deliberate live - to place earthly things in their proper perspective - and focus on my relationship with my Lord. I'd love to have you come along with me and experience the same.
So join me on this little "side trip" and challenge yourself during this special season to reflect on Christ in a fresh way and determine in your heart to deepen your relationship with your Savior and God.