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Length of Days - Search for Freedom

Monday, February 15, 2010


Ash Wednesday, the first day of Lent, is this week and the question asked most often is, “What are you giving up for Lent?” Sacrifice for most of us, consists of giving up something for the several weeks before Easter. Sacrifice that is felt each day is a way of drawing closer to God. Usually, we let go of something we hadn’t really wanted in the first place. Perhaps it’s pie or cake, when we actually wanted to lose weight. Some brave souls will give up chocolate. However, the ambrosia from the cocoa bean has many medicinal benefits. Along with dark chocolate, it lowers LDL (“bad” cholesterol) and raises or elevates the mood, giving one a sense of well being. Maybe that’s not the best one to choose to give up or perhaps that’s just the chocoholic in me talking. Still, we bravely call these restrictions - sacrifice.

In Matthew 16:24, Jesus told his disciples, “If any want to become my followers, let them deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me.” Deny themselves? Maybe “self” is what we need to give up for Lent. Perhaps a real sacrifice would be to give up selfishness, self-aggrandizement, and our penchant for self-wallowing in perceived slights and injustices. Nothing feels better than to throw a really festive pity party with all the whales, moans, and anger. For Lent, let’s get over ourselves for forty days. Our prayer will be for the release of self-focus in which we tend to believe that the whole world is all about us. In the kingdom of God, the whole kingdom is about God. Let us pray:

“Loving Father, you sent your only son into a sinful world to save us and we didn’t even know you were here. Forgive us for focusing on our own wants, our own pleasures, and our own joys. You were the child lost in the shadows of an abusive family. You were the friend who lost their job while we hid our eyes hoping that denying the financial pain would make it unreal and out of our realm of reality. You were the stranger who felt the earth shake and their home crumble into shambles while we were trying to decide if we should add on another room to our already comfortable home. For these forty days, oh Father, we choose to lay our very self at your feet, for our “self” is the only true gift we own. We ask that you rid our lives of self-centeredness. Drive it from our hearts as far as the east is from the west. Place your Holy Spirit in the empty spot where self-interest lived and fill us with your glorious light until it overflows and shoots out our fingertip, our hair, our entire being. We breathe in your essence with our every breath. Holy, holy, holy is your name and the name of your son, Jesus Christ. May we remember to hold your name in reverence and the name of your son, Jesus Christ. To you, our Heavenly Father, we give all praise and glory. Amen.”

Copyright 2010 Doris Gaines Rapp, Ph.D.
“God gives us stories that testify to His love. Let me tell you mine.”

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