The following is the devotion from my Lent devotional book by Holly McKissick.
Every Lent we come into a time of testing. It’s no obstacle course designed by the devil. No, we design the course because we want to be different people come Easter Sunday.
For starters, we give up chocolate or coffee. The deeper we go and the older we get, the more we understand the depth of our need for conversion. We need to give up enemies, cynicism, and hopelessness. We need to give up guilt, second guessing ourselves, and living in the past. We need to give up our infatuation with the consumer culture nad all that it holds.
When my daughter was twelve, she announced before Ash Wednesday, “I’m going to give up spending for Lent.” Before I could remark,”Wow, that’s big,” she said: “So we need to go to Target tonight to buy a few things.”
Conversion is hard.
I tell my congregation to start with this simple plan: in Lent, wrap yourself in a word of scripture. Choose a word you love: Forgiven. Cherished. Blessed. Healed. Graced. Beloved. Choose a word that – if spoken every morning, everywhere, by everyone – could, possibly, save the world. Wrap yourself in that word.
Then set yourself a good test – something that stretches you, calls you forward. Give up spending. Why not? Give up enemies. What do you have to lose? Give up wanting a different body, a different face, a different job.
Every time you start to hedge, to falter, to backslide; every time you start to think, I’m not enough; every time you start to spend or drink or eat or whatever you do to escape your demons, see the word tattooed on your head where the smudge of ashes used to be. Every time you start to judge another, wrap her in a scarf embroidered with that word…
Write your word on a card and place it on your Lenten table. Tape it to the mirror. Sing it in the shower. Pray it when you drift off to sleep: forgiven, forgiven, forgiven…
Prayer: May your word embrace our souls, envelop our world. Amen.
Oh my goodness. That is powerful.
My word is “healed”. God will heal me, heal my family, my friends, my community, my country, my world…