Wednesday, March 2, 2016

An Prickly Epiphany from Above

   It happened just the other day. A reminder from God literally fell out of the sky. I had been working in the front yard, picking up pine cones, and enjoying Blue skies and mild temperatures. I think I had already taken two wheelbarrows full back to the pile to later be burned, and was particularly proud of the progress I was making. I slowed down for a moment to send a text message on my phone when all of the sudden something caught my eye as it passes by: a pine cone fell into the very ground that I had already cleaned up. The message could not have been any clearer had this foreign object fallen directly onto my head like the apple upon Newtons!
   When Christians observe the Season of Lent, we are preparing themselves for the celebration of the resurrection at Easter. Specifically, by fasting and self-denial and living lives of moderation, we have more energy to devote to God's purposes and a better vision toward the service and well-being of others. We are also able to root out the sins that have fallen upon the landscape of our lives and assist the Holy Spirit in the removal of those actions, thoughts, and pitfalls that lead us away from God's best desires for us.
   The single pine cone reminded me of the truth that we all know. Listen,

It does not matter how small the sins are provided that their cumulative effect is to edge the man away from the Light and out into the Nothing. Murder is no better than cards if cards can do the trick. Indeed the safest road to Hell is the gradual one--the gentle slope, soft underfoot, without sudden turnings, without milestones, without signposts.
― C.S. Lewis, The Screwtape Letters

May we spend these days diligently removing, with prayers and patience, the very things that have turned us away from our best selves. May we be encouraged that we travel this journey alongside of brothers and sisters in our church and surrounded by a great cloud of witnesses who have gone on before us. May we not lose hope. Easter is coming; sin has been defeated. 
   Grace and peace, Scott

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