Tuesday, 16 February 2016

I like Lent. It's not much of a part of my Presbyterian heritage, and I'm not sure how I came to be such an admirer. I think I was in Belfast's big Christian bookshop one year wondering about Lent and picking up Delia's Feast for Lent, and there I was. Lentenised!

Six years in Anglicanism while Prince Charming led worship there helped, and now we do try in our own very small way to follow Jesus through forty days and forty nights of God. Certainly it has always been my experience that I have but to stop and find God rush to meet me. Father hurrying down the lane to take back the prodigal before words are even formed on lips.

It's half-term here this week, and I was struck yesterday morning by my reading of Jesus Himself getting up early or withdrawing to lonely places to pray. This time two years ago, on half-term, we had sold our house, discovered that the house we thought we were buying had been strangely sold to someone else, and were potentially homeless! There was nothing else on the market in the area that we could afford. Uncharacteristically, instead of weeping and wailing, I decided that I would get up early every morning of half-term and throw ourselves at God. Every morning that week I read about the importance of not worrying, of the birds of the air, read in Psalm 37,

Trust in the Lord and do good;
    dwell in the land and enjoy safe pasture.
Take delight in the Lord,
    and he will give you the desires of your heart.

By Tuesday afternoon the local godly estate agent rang me and told me to view a house that night. He told me that it was the answer to my prayers. It was. And six weeks later we were here. God moves. (He moves houses.) He moves mightily and every Lent reminds me of the great, good things He still does for us. 

This year on Shrove Tuesday Jo and I stood beside the book stall in our church halls. It happens to be outside the kitchen, and we were waiting to go in and judge the BB pancake-making competition. On impulse I took this booklet home:

This is our Lent time with Jesus this year. For just five minutes over dinner we read the passage and all have a little pray- out loud or not. And do you know, God has come rushing down the lane to meet us. This week the reading are all from Acts- the disciples about to go out and preach but first waiting for the Holy Spirit and His tongues of fire. I am thinking about work and our need to be overt in our witness there, Mattman is thinking about all the new languages he's learning at school this year, and all around us we have passages from Acts in church and even on the billboard opposite our GP yesterday. Jo asked why Acts was everywhere suddenly and I said that God had lots to tell us from Acts just now.
God speaks, and loudly, but it is very often in Lent for me, when I find Him rushing down the lane.


Fat Dormouse said...

Thank you for your encouraging and thoughtful message on my blog, and also for this timely reminder of God's provision. I can't write as eloquently as you, but certainly your posts are helpful & encouraging to me. Blogland can, and so often is, a good place to be.

ellen b said...

I was moved reading your post today...I think God came rushing down the lane to meet me as I read. Thank you for sharing. We weren't raised with any lent tradition but the last several years we've chosen not to ignore this great contemplative time of year. Funny or not so funny that you mention Acts. I just completed it in my daily or not so daily reading and we are in a new series at our church on the second half of Acts! The Holy Spirit moves in congruence around the world. I love that! Have a great day.

Kezzie said...

That is just lovely. You are right about witness. I sigh as I think about how snarky, horrid and ungodly I have been towards my non-Christian husband this weekend as we have moved and I am ashamed of the horrible feelings I have had towards him when I should be showing God's love.

God has been in our house move, he has provided for us well.x

Pom Pom said...

Aw! I love your doings for Lent! LOVE! Acts. SO GOOD.
Just today, I looked at my little Susan Branch calendar to find Easter. I do so love Easter.

M.K. said...

Just wonderful, Mags. Thanks for reminding me of what happened with your home two years ago. It's SO GOOD to remember the huge things God has done in our past, because we so quickly forget!

Lisa Richards said...

I love the image of God rushing down the lane to meet us! I was feeling that way today. Trying to do things I enjoy on my day off, but they felt a little empty. When I put it all away and just closed my eyes and talked to Him about life, great peace enveloped me and it was the best time of the day! So often we're running away from Him in our busyness. Your house story reminds me of mine. This little apartment is just what I prayed for, and He didn't forget my prayers! God bless you all!

Nearly Martha said...

Thank you so much for your phrase "rushing down the lane" It is so lovely to think of God running towards me - excited to meet me and something I need to be reminded of especially when I don't feel I would rush anywhere much to meet me sometimes.