It is the 4th day of March and the 4th day of Lent. The readings for today seem quite fitting for the beginning of our Lenten journey. Isaiah offers a vision of the hope of repentance. The Psalm reminds us of a goal of renewal: to walk in the truth with the Lord. The gospel story in Luke shows us a model of repentance. Levi walks away from one way of life and generously celebrates his new life with Jesus and his friends.
As we consider how to more fully enter into the season of Lent, the material in the reading from Isaiah for today offers much for reflection. As already noted, it offers vivid images of the wonderful rewards of repentance. If we turn and change our ways our strength will be renewed. We will be like watered gardens. We will heal and restore. Perhaps we’re lucky enough to have been around someone who radiates this grace. Perhaps we’ve felt this healing and restoring in our own lives. If so, we can offer thanks for those glimpses of God’s grace and renew our passion to more fully receive God’s restoring grace now.
With the expectation of grace and God’s goodness in mind, we can turn to the challenging discernment of what we may be called to “turn from” this Lent. The verses from Isaiah also offer wisdom for this reflection. Do we treat others fairly? Is there oppression in our midst? Are we careful in what we say? Are we generous with what we have? Do we find ways to respect and keep Sabbath time? Perhaps this Lent would be a good time to get more intentional about our Sabbath practices. It might be a time to develop new traditions that make some time of the week more distinctly removed from the “following of our own pursuits” that happens the rest of the week. To walk away from our post and leave everything behind just once a week may prepare us to better see a new calling from God’s truth and make us more ready and willing to follow it.
“Teach me your way, O Lord, that I may walk in your truth. For you, O Lord, are good and forgiving, abounding in kindness to all who call upon you. Hearken, O Lord, to my prayer and attend to the sound of my pleading. Teach me your way, O Lord, that I may walk in your truth.”
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