First Sunday in Lent

“Return to me with your whole heart, with fasting, and weeping, and mourning.” I ponder these words, this loving invitation, this Lenten Journey. I could hear God’s voice personally calling out to me; “return to me with your whole heart.” God does not want a piece of my heart, nor some of my heart.  He is not simply hoping for the bottom half of my heart.  God wants it all, the whole thing.  God wants all of your heart. But there is so much in this world that also calls out to us.  So much that captivates us, lures us away.  So much that robs our attention and leads us away from God. So many people, places, things and objects demand our hearts, our attention, our time, our resources, our selves. But God says, “return to me… come to me… follow me…” God seems to speak to the inner depths of our hearts in the Lenten Season saying: let me be all that you need, all that you want, all that you desire, all that your heart longs for. “Return to me,” and I will cleanse you, feed you, nourish you, care for you, hold you, restore you.  I will love you always and for an eternity. God draws and leads us always but during this sacred season, he does so in a quite personal and particular way. It is an intimate call to intimacy in prayer.  He asks us to fast from the world, its confusion, its empty commercial and draw close to God by entering into your heart and simply being still and loved. This is a scary thought for some.  For others, it is a painful thought.  Still for others, it reminds us of hurt and brokenness. It brings images of despair. But God does not want to cause you pain or suffering. He desires to bring you relief from the things that made your heart heavy, unloved, alone. Letting go of the past is traumatic.  We mourn people, places, things and objects. We weep over the situations that have long gone but still hurt and influence us still today. It hurts and pains us even more so today.  Return to God with your whole heart. God wants it all. Not just a part, the upper half, or just the good side. God wants your whole heart. Bring it all to him this Lenten Season. Give your heart to God and he will make your heart new. “A clean heart create for me, O God, and a steadfast spirit renew within me.”

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