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Journey with John

I hear it a lot.  I say it more often than I should.  It’s a common complaint that becomes an excuse for not acting on some demand on life.  My guess is it is not a new phenomenon.  Perhaps you’ve said it on occasion.  The familiar words ring in my ears convicting me of misusing God’s gracious gift of time.  “I’m so busy, I don’t have time to do another thing.”  I confess, I’ve said those words a number of times.  Once in a great while, it is true.  More often, it’s just an attempt to cover my need to spend time in the Presence where my soul can be refreshed and my outlook renewed.

There’s a lovely story told about Eric Frykenberg, a missionary in Asia for more than fifty years.  He was asked, “Dr. Frykenberg, what is the most difficult problem you face?”  Without hesitation, he answered, “It is when my heart grows cold before God.  When that happens, I know I am too busy.  I also know it is time to get away.  So, I take my Bible and go off to the hills alone.  I open the scripture to Matthew 27, the story of the crucifixion and I wrap my arms around the Cross.  And then… I’m ready to go back to work….”  When we get too busy, it’s easy for the soul to shut down.  We learn to plow through on automatic pilot.  We meet our obligations, stumbling through them with less than our full selves.  It’s a protective device to detach and barrel through.  But, the moment comes when the heart grows cold before God.  Then, we know, we’re too busy and it’s time to wrap our arms around the Cross once more.

The Church has given us a season to do just that.  Lent is our opportunity to take the Bible and go to the hills alone to wrap our arms around the Cross.  Lent gives precious time to reflect and pray, to find assurance that we are doing what God has called us to do.  To spend time at the Cross demands that I examine what I do and ask, “Is it worthy?”  Does what I do matter?  Spending time at the Cross gives me some moments to remember Jesus’ life and know that one life CAN make a difference.  Spending time at the Cross of Jesus reveals a love that reaches beyond self into the very heart of another.  Spending time at the Cross of Jesus sobers my judgment, deepens my compassion, soothes my wounds.  Spending time at the Cross of Jesus renews me to face each day with joy.  I’m grateful for Lent, the season invites me to wrap my arms around the saving Cross of Jesus, so I will not grow cold to God or to you or anyone else.  Spending time at the Cross of Jesus renews my spirit and gives me hope for a new day.  Spend some time with your arms wrapped around the Cross of Jesus.  You’ll be changed and so blessed….

Love,

Pastor John