It was a holy kind of cold that enveloped me this early morning, with shivers and sweats. I dropped my kids off at school and came home all aching on the inside; anxious and out of sorts, though I didn't know exactly why. I knew I'd been off my routine both practically and spiritually these past few weeks. Actually, if I'm going to be honest here, I haven't been consistent in my time with The Lord since 2014. And then there's been so much in the news to shake a grounded woman loose. And to top it off... we've been busy. In the busyness of life, I'd lost track of the cross.
Today is Ash Wednesday, the first day of Lent. A time to give up in order to give in... into the cross. And so I gave in, full heart and full attention to the Lord. And as I prayed and read and meditated upon the cross, I thought of these men.
In the days before Lent, 21 Christian Egyptians were martyred for their confession of faith. 21 People of the Cross.
There have been news reports, editorials, blog posts, pictures, heated debates, and prayers circling social media - ones I've read, names I've prayed over, and conversations I've had. But today, on this first day of Lent, it all came together for me.
We must commit to being People of the Cross this Lenten season.
In the face of persecution, People of the Cross.
In the midst of uncertainty, People of the Cross.
In the busy places of our lives,
in the frightening places in the world,
in the aching places of our souls...
People of the Cross.
But what does that mean to you and to me in our everyday,
getting kids dressed,
loving our spouses,
getting dinner on the table,
teaching the kids to clear their plates
and brush their own teeth lives?
What does it mean to be People of the Cross in this distracting, unpredictable, terror-tempted life?
That's what I want to know, because that's who I want to be in the midst of it all.
And so this Lent, I will fast from those extra minutes of sleep, to find my rest in the One who died upon the cross. I will pull back warm covers when the morning sky is not yet light, to gaze upon the Light of His Countenance. Here in these Lenten days, before each one bombards me with her headlines, I will dive headlong into the hope we have, secure, because of the Cross.
Come with me this Lent. Come with me to the cross, through the rich love letter of God's "Radical Word." For they might threaten us with radical Islam, but we choose to set our minds and our hope upon radical love as displayed upon the cross.
"For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing,
but to us who are being saved it is the power of God."
(1 Corinthians 1:18)
Let us commit to being People of the Cross!