a time for mourning

from the a time for mourning reading plan


Job 42:1-6, Genesis 3:19, Mark 2:13-17, Matthew 4:1-6

BY Amanda Bible Williams

psst – be sure to scroll all the way to the bottom – we have a fun Lent assignment for you for Friday!

Text: Job 42:1-6, Genesis 3:19, Mark 2:13-17, Matthew 4:1-6

The Ash Wednesday ashes are as a sign of mourning, just as they were in biblical times. Perhaps you’ve seen them smeared on the forehead of a friend or a coworker, or even in the mirror just this morning.

I vaguely remember the first time I noticed the ashen cross; it was on the face of a stranger and I was in a public place, although I don’t remember where. I was practically an adult but I remember feeling taken aback by such an outward display of an inward posture, an overt proclamation of an intimate heart condition. I was just beginning to learn then what I’m still learning now – that the condition of all us sinners is very much the same, even when we choose to keep it to ourselves.

Yes, the ashes are worn in a spirit of mourning – to signify repentance of sin, like Job’s confession in Job 42, and to acknowledge our human frailty like the “dust to dust” words of Genesis 3. Today, Ash Wednesday, is a time for us – Protestants, Catholics, Jesus followers, Truth seekers – to acknowledge not just our acts of sin but our condition of sinfulness before the Lord. It is a time to turn to him in mourning and to return to Him in trust anew, believing He is faithful to forgive and forgive again.

Before we jump up and down for joy of forgiveness – which we absolutely should – let’s sit here a minute. Let’s let the enormity of our sin sink in deep, so the enormity of the Cross can become more real to us than ever before. So we can remember that we are the sick ones He came to heal. Let’s rest a long moment in the weeping that comes before the laughing, the mourning that comes before the joy (Ecclesiastes 3:4).

.      .      .      .      .

“We travail. We are heavy laden. Refresh us, O homeless, jobless, possession-less Savior. You came naked, and naked you go. And so it is for us. So it is for all of us.”
– Barbara Cawthorne Crafton

Sisters, backwards as it may seem, we come to Lent for refreshment. We fast – be it from a comfort or a thing, an action or an indulgence – to receive. We give up that which we do not need to live, to gain that which we cannot live without: more Jesus.

We hold ourselves back from the everyday trappings of life simply to refocus our gaze and re-firm our grip on him. We do not fast for fasting’s sake, but only to draw near to Him. Dietrich Bonhoeffer said it best: “Self-denial is saying only: He goes ahead of us; hold fast to him.”

As we move into the Lenten season – and into the 4 short reading plans which will carry us through Lent with the topics of fasting, repentance, meditation and confession – let’s hold fast to Him.

Let’s hold fast only to Him.

_______

and, about that fun assignment…

Hey girls! It’s Raechel. I want to take a quick second to tell you about a little something we’ve been dreaming about here at SheReadsTruth for a few months now, and we thought Lent might be a nice time to give it a try!

You know people say that one of the best ways to learn, is to teach. We’ve certainly found this to be true for ourselves as we’ve studied hard and long and deep to write the devotionals you find on our site. We want to give you space to do that, too!

Whether you consider yourself a writer or not, whether you have a blog with 10 or 10,000 readers – or don’t have a blog at all – no worries. This is about learning. It’s about digging deep and asking the Holy Spirit to illuminate the Scriptures for you in a new way – and boy, is He ever faithful to do just that.

Every Friday during Lent, YOU will be our writers. We will assign your scriptures early in the week (typically on Monday, though we know today is Wednesday so it’s a little bit shorter notice) and you’ll have roughly five days to study and prepare and write.

Publish your devotional on your own blog on Friday. (We try to keep our devotionals to 400 words, but you do what you like.) If you don’t have a blog, try Facebook or even Instagram (take photo of handwritten notes if that is what works for you) and use the hashtag #SheReadsTruth.

And then the fun. On Friday (that’s in two days), come to the SheReadsTruth site and share the link to the devotional you’ve written. The beauty of this exercise is that it will enhance your time in the Word, you will be able to share your Lent devotional with your readers/followers, and all of your SheReadsTruth sisters will be able to click around to read what everyone has written – a hundred different takes on the same passage!

Friday’s scripture will be Psalm 130. Come back then to share what you’ve learned and to see what your sisters have learned as well!

xoxo,
R

Post Comments (96)

96 thoughts on "a time for mourning"

  1. Nordia says:

    I started my Lenten sacrifice on the actual grist deh of lent. 4 days in I caved. I'm extremely hard on myself and I'm going to restart my 40 days over tomorrow. I thank God for loving me even though I am fallible.

  2. theeighthsign says:

    Hello Everyone, this is my first time to participate in following a reading plan online. From my blog:
    http://www.bubblews.com/news/2543619-my-reflectio

    This devotion was prompted by a reading plan that I started following during the the Lenten season.

    When I started pondering about the significance of 'mourning', as symbolized by the smeared ashes on believer's foreheads on Ash Wednesday, I couldn't really think of a reason to mourn.

    I mean, in the past couple of months, I've been feeling that I have been living on a high plane. There have been plenty of moments when I felt grateful for the many blessings I enjoy as well as the people who positively influence me.

    Reading the entire chapter of Psalm 130, however, reminded me of those dark days after my marriage breakup four years ago. I grieved for the loss of my marriage and my spouse, and for what seemed an eternity, I felt that my joy could never be restored as I face the road of single parenthood and the fear of never letting myself emotionally invest in a relationship.

    "I wait for the Lord, my whole being waits, and in His word I put my hope" is the verse that made such an impression upon me. I may not feel as much grief as I did back then, although once in a while during unguarded moments, I would feel a cry rise up for some reason, as if deep down, my spirit understands that I could never stand back up from the pits of despair if not for HIS everlasting mercy, undeserved forgiveness, and unfailing love.

    The ashen cross is a reminder of my mourning, but because of the sacrifice of my Lord Jesus Christ, I am comforted, hence made to feel loved, valued, and set on a high place, where despair and defeat will never reach me.

  3. Debbie says:

    “Don’t go near the edge”. A Psalm 130 devotional.

    http://whatgodisteaching.wordpress.com/2014/03/06/dont-go-near-the-edge/

    A time for mourning – I was blessed by this reading. Thank you.

  4. Kelsi says:

    SO excited about Fridays!!!!

  5. Cindy says:

    Thank you for this opportunity. I'm not quite sure how to write a devotional, but I'm going to try it.

  6. Tyne Swedish says:

    Okay your Psalms 130 what is the title? In my catholic bible it has a 130 but shows it may be others 129.

    1. It's this one in the St. Joseph Catholic Bible, same Psalm (is Chapter 130) — hope I'm right and that helps Tyne
      http://www.catholic.org/bible/book.php?id=23&…

      1 [Song of Ascents] From the depths I call to you, Yahweh:

      2 Lord, hear my cry. Listen attentively to the sound of my pleading!

      3 If you kept a record of our sins, Lord, who could stand their ground?

      4 But with you is forgiveness, that you may be revered.

      5 I rely, my whole being relies, Yahweh, on your promise.

      6 My whole being hopes in the Lord, more than watchmen for daybreak; more than watchmen for daybreak

      7 let Israel hope in Yahweh. For with Yahweh is faithful love, with him generous ransom;

      8 and he will ransom Israel from all its sins.

      1. Tyne Swedish says:

        Thanks so much Peggy!

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