Friday, February 22, 2013

Finishing out our first week of Lent...

'what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?'  Micah 6:8
"One of the most important words in the Old Testament is the word translated here as kindness.  The problem is tha tthis word is very hard to translate into English.  It means something like faithful, loving kindness: not just a passing 'niceness' but a deep down, on-going love that blossoms regularly into acts of care and thoughtfulness.  As a part of our journey with him, this is what the Lord requires of us, for those in need."
Friday's activity:  Watch the news.  Pray for someone or something you've seen on it.
This activity was a little tough simply because we never watch the news in our house.  Justin and I both catch up on our world happenings through reading rather than watching.  And, I generally just find the news very depressing and sometimes even disturbing.  It's not something I really wanted to expose Logan to, so I modified the activity.  Instead of praying for someone or something from the news, Logan and I sat down and talked about the different people in our everyday lives that we could pray for.  Logan caught on very quickly and asked if that meant he could pray for a friend of his at school that had gotten a bloody nose at school that day and had to go home.  It was so sweet to listen to Logan say a prayer for his school friend!

'God saw everything that he had made, and indeed, it was very good.'
Genesis 1:31
"God loves the world he created.  In Genesis 1, after God had done each act of creation we are told that 'it was good' and, at the end of the sixth day, when he made humanity and animals we are told that 'it was very good'.  However much human beings have spoilt creation since, we must not forget that God loved the world then, loves it still and wants us to love it too, so...enjoy our world."
Saturday's activity:  Plant some seeds and care for them as they grow.
Oh, boy.  This was a super tough one...only because I have the blackest thumb known to man I'm sure!  But, we went ahead with it anyway.  Our family all went to Walmart together to shop for seeds, dirt, and a pot.  And then we planted.  And now we water and wait each day with excitement!


Since Sunday's sermon was going to focus on the family, our church decided to host a family friendly activity the Saturday night before.  The activity decided on was "movie night"!  We all met at the church at six that night loaded up with popcorn, snacks, and drinks to share.  The kids piled up blankets and pillows in the front of the church - they wanted the best seats in the house!  Then we played the movie Hotel Transylvania on the big screen.  In the end I think all of us grown ups were cracking up more than the kiddos!  It was a great movie and an awesome way to spend time as a family and with friends!

I remeber when the drama department did this particular story as a one-act play.  I went to see it with a boyfriend at the time and left the gym confused.  I didn't get it.  I mean really - why shouldn't the older son be angry?  Why should the father just 'reward' the younger son like that for bad behavior?  I thought the entire story was ridiculous!  And then I promptly forgot all about it...
...Until about seven years later when I attended a Thanksgiving church service at Journey Christian Church.  I had only just started going to church there; honestly, I had really just started going to church regularly period.  And I remember that my now mother-in-law stood up, read the story of the prodigal son, and then explained what it meant to her.  And I got it.  Finally!  And I realized how much I loved that story.  It quickly became one of my favorites.
On Sunday, our Pastor told the story of the prodigal son again (Luke 15).  I didn't think I had anything new to learn about this tale, but I did!  First of all, I learned that the word 'prodigal' has two definitions:  wasteful (like the son) and extravagant.  Our Pastor went on to put the story in the context of the time period it was written in, the rules and customs that were upheld then.  At that point it became clear that the father's love for his son, for his family, was extravagant!  The story was as much about the extravagant father as it was about the wasteful son.  It is about the importance of forgiveness over "being right", about the importance of reconcilliation over pride.  It is about the importance of holding a family together.
After all our family has been through in the past year, this sermon struck such a deep cord with in me.  It was a confirmation from God that all the hard and painful growing and working Justin and I have done was exactly what God meant for us! 
This first week of Lent has been such a growing - and rewarding - experience for me, for my children, for my family as a whole.  I look forward to continuing it!
Quotes are all from the creators of Live Life Love Lent at

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