Return to the Lord Your God 

Now in as much as I have to admit that I have become a bit of a “travel junkie” it is also true that - when that day finally rolls around - there is something very nice about coming home.  No matter how wonderful the adventure has been, the call of your own comfortable bed, of finally getting back to home cooked meals, and/or being with your dear ones back there is - at the core - a pretty powerful longing.  And so, even as we kind of resent that the great “wandering off” is coming to an end, there is also an undeniable longing for hearth and home that is likely just as moving and enchanting in its promise -- comfort, familiarity, safety, love …. HOME!!!!

                That is… that is... until we start to remember all the other stuff that is also waiting there at “home” for us to likewise “relish” when we get back - all the undone niggling little jobs around the house you likely went on holidays to get away from.. all those undealt relationship bumps we put on hold… all that stuff at or about work that will still be there in a big pile on our desk when we get there on that first Monday back at it!?!!?  For me .. that is when the real anguish begins - when I start thinking about BOTH all the ways I like being “on the adventure” AND all the things I am dreading having to face again at “home”.

                In some ways though this is kind of the same as this Lenten thing we are invited to be about this month.  Indeed, on the one hand, the call to “return to the Lord your God” (one of the core themes of Lent & our liturgy during Lent) IS a call to come “home” - with all the beautiful and graceful stuff that is meant to hold.  It is meant to be an invitation to come back to love… come back to forgiveness… come back to an intimacy with God where we can once more feel that deep sense of compassion & peace we all long for.

                Unfortunately though, it is not as simple as, that is it?  For even as we are running back into our Father’s arms (AND realize that He is running toward us - think Prodigal Son story) we can’t help but find ourselves tripping over all manner of messes we left or created in our wandering off.  We can’t help but remember the stuff we left back there as we ran away from God - the stuff that tries to separate us from God .. sin, selfishness, anger, et al. Like that pile of waiting paper work at the office, these are the things we know are not necessarily going to be that fun to work through as we make our way back into the world back there.

                And yet we do know that it is something that has to be faced.. has to be dealt with for us to get on with life (healthy life.. free life).  And so it is that during the season of Lent one of the things we do spend intentional time doing is a kind off “cleaning off of the desk.”  In our case we call it Confession.  It is a time to/opportunity to deal with that pile of junk in the only way that is truly effective - turning it over to God.. turning it over to the word of grace that is God.  It is a time to return to God and be reminded of how desperate God is to welcome us home.. so desperate that in Christ God offers us a way to get rid of all that crap that is forever and absolute.  This being the whole point of what Christ came into the world to be for us.. a way of grace.. a way of uncluttered welcome.. a way home!

 

-       Pr. Stewart