Scripture Passage (Deuteronomy 26: 1-2, 5, 10-11)
When you have come into the land that the Lord your God is giving you as an inheritance to possess, and you possess it, and settle in it, 2you shall take some of the first of all the fruit of the ground, which you harvest from the land that the Lord your God is giving you, and you shall put it in a basket and go to the place that the Lord your God will choose as a dwelling for his name… 5you shall make this response before the Lord your God: “A wandering Aramean was my ancestor; he went down into Egypt and lived there as an alien, few in number, and there he became a great nation, mighty and populous… 10So now I bring the first of the fruit of the ground that you, O Lord, have given me.” You shall set it down before the Lord your God and bow down before the Lord your God. 11Then you, together with the Levites and the aliens who reside among you, shall celebrate with all the bounty that the Lord your God has given to you and to your house.
See, the problem with this whole Lenten wilderness excursion is that we’re really not ready, right? But have you ever considered that the problem might be that we’re TOO prepared. I mean, maybe we’ve overpacked, dragging what we think is ours, what we think defines us along this dusty road. Maybe we’re so walled off with our own preconceptions of who we are, who God is, what Jesus can do for us, how this whole journey will end up, that we’re not paying attention at all to where we are going or what God is trying to show us along the way.
Look around. We are not the first to travel this way. Oh, don’t get me wrong, it’s not an overly well-worn path, but there is a faint pathway that someone carved out long before we came along. This is not our pathway. This is not our land. This is not OUR country (arguing political pundits aside). This is not OUR church. We inherited what we have. It was handed down to us from those that came before. And it is ours not to possess, not to settle, but to hold, to hold for a season in time. What we have, all that surrounds us was entrusted to us for our care and our use (not for us to USE UP, just for our use.)
This Lenten journey is a reminder of not only where we are headed but also from where we have come. It is a way of our acknowledging that we are not self-made as we would like to think, that all that we are and all that we have is not only from God but IS God’s. But the passage also reminds us that we have time to digest all of that. God doesn’t expect to have all of this figured out or to be fully formed in faith. God is not standing at the doorway to our home like a holy ticket-taker. God is waiting for us to offer the fruits of what God has given us back to God. And then, together, we will celebrate the glorious bounty that belongs to us all. The journey is one that calls us to remember who and whose we are, to remember the place we began, to remember that that walked this path before, and to welcome those that are yet to come. Maybe Lent calls us to let go so that we will realize that what we are holding is not ours to possess.
Complete possession is proved only by giving. All you are unable to give possesses you. (Andre’ Gide)
Thank you for sharing your Lenten journey with me!
Grace and Peace,