Monday, March 03, 2014

Gird up your Loins and Travel with Me

By Beth DeCristofaro

Therefore, gird up the loins of your mind, live soberly, and set your hopes completely on the grace to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ. … be holy yourselves in every aspect of your conduct, for it is written, “Be holy because I am holy”. (1 Peter 1:13, 15-16)

Jesus said, “Amen, I say to you,  there is no one who has given up house or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or lands for my sake and for the sake of the Gospel who will not receive a hundred times more now in this present age  … (Mark 10:29-30)

Loving God, let us Fast from anything that leads us away from you and teach us to feast on all that brings us closer to you. Amen   

Peter’s words bring to mind the flight of the Israelites out of Egypt.  Moses warned, “gird your loins” in preparation for a long journey.  And, of course, take only what you can carry.  It is an image that is a good metaphor as Jesus speaks to his disciples.  Follow me, he says, on a journey of faith which requires little baggage and a trust in the Shepherd rather than our comfortable accoutrements of life.

A friend of mine spoke of Lent as a time to “put away the Alleluias” until Easter.  It strikes me that I resist putting away the Alleluias!  I love the sacred music of our church and miss those hymns that we refrain from singing during Lent.  Truth be told, however, I also resist girding my loins in order to practice fasting and to some degree alms giving.  I don’t like “giving up.”  I would have an awfully big knapsack as I went out into the desert because I love my habits, belongings, carefully crafted role in society.

Jesus says that we “receive a hundred times more” when we give up for his sake.  In the moments of grace when I am aware of God’s spirit close I do, indeed, receive a hundred times because I am aware that I and others are beloved of God.  Truly, what more do I want?

What ingrained habit or pattern might I give up this Lent?  Can I give up sin?  I can replace it with Jesus by bringing Jesus to mind and asking for His help, each time I am enticed back into the thought or behavior.  Take the opportunity to also give alms and spend time in prayer each time there is a tug of that comfortable place which beguiles me from complete trust in God’s will.

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