Each year when I approach the season of Lent, those 40 days from Ash Wednesday to Easter, I find myself stumbling and tumbling to figure out what to give up or to take on. I found some great ideas this year at a couple of blogs (like this one). It got down to the last minute (in other words, Wednesday morning of Ash Wednesday) before deciding to take something on. Ever since reading “TheWay of the Pilgrim,” I have been drawn to the practicing “praying without ceasing” so for this Lent I am being very intentional about using Orthodox prayer bracelet, praying through the Jesus prayer three times around (roughly 30 times), at morning, noon and night.
This practice constantly brings up my state: I am a sinner. By the time I’ve prayed it about 20 times, this really becomes the focus. Now I do not “beat myself up” over this but it is a reminder how much I am in need of God’s mercy.
I had thought I might give up Facebook…until today when an important piece of my journey opened up. You see, I am in a denomination that creates tension believing there is a middle way. As my friends post differing opinions and thoughts, I get a laugh, I get mad, I get tempted to unfriend (I’ve only done that once), but what I have been really working hard to do is listen. I'm trying to listen to voices expressing their own journey of faith in Jesus Christ that is at times, very different from mine.
And today I read these words, “If you have a heart, you can be saved.” Spoken by Abba Pambo in the fourth century, these words were like a wall to stop me cold. We have made it so easy to cut off differing opinions, even those we term sinners, and we do it without even considering or giving second thought to the heart inside them, a heart that Jesus loves. A heart, like mine, like your’s that is crying out to Jesus in the tenor and voice unique to that one person, “Lord Jesus, have mercy on me a sinner.”
So I am glad I did not give up Facebook and all you sinners like me with hearts in need of a savior. And thanks for not giving up on my heart as we journey toward Easter.