Repost: Chew this Word

Over the weeks of lent, we've had different bloggers reflect on the verses within Ephesians 2:1-10. We've also asked you to join us in reflection and reading of the passages on our lenten Sundays. As we enter Easter weekend, from Good Friday to Resurrection Sunday, we invite you to spend some time reflecting on Ephesians 2:1-10 in your own quiet time with God. A tool that you can use to do this is Lectio Divina, a traditional practice of reading scripture slowly and in contemplation. Kasey Kimball wrote about Lectio Divina last year, and she includes a guide on how to use it. We invite you to re-read her blog as you read over the scripture passage this week. 

Chew This Word - by Kasey Kimball

Gates, Walls, and the Inner Jerusalem of Our Hearts

As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient. All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our flesh and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature deserving of wrath. But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved. And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus. For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—not by works, so that no one can boast. For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do. ~Ephesians 2:1-10

Our Lent focus turns to Holy Week and I invite you to imagine yourselves with the crowd of pilgrims preparing for the entry into Jerusalem, or Palm Sunday as we know it. The pilgrims were coming to celebrate the great Jewish stories of freedom and hope. Many of the participants along with the disciples believed that Jesus deserved a royal entry.  But it seemed that few understood what Jesus was about when he entered Jerusalem on that colt, so who would be really prepared for the upside down turn of events. Even though Jesus had told his disciples that he would be mocked, insulted, flogged and killed, then rise again on the third day, they did not understand any of this. Its meaning was hidden from them and they did not know what he was talking about. (Luke 18:34)

It's interesting that while the crowds were cheering about what they knew not – Jesus wept. They just weren't in tune with the mission of Jesus. 

The atmosphere was full of expectation, turmoil, uprising, and then a big disappointment for the disciples. I imagine if I were part of the scene at that time I'd have my own expectations and most likely they would have been displaced. I'd be focusing on the great kingdom life I was going to have once Jesus rose to the top, claimed his sovereignty, his Lordship over all. Of course I had not absorbed all the teaching he so diligently brought forth and I hardly knew him well enough to understand anyway. So naturally when he was crucified I'd be walking on the road to despair, wondering how I could have been so mistaken, so gullible to believe in the first place.

Holy Week is both about Jesus' outward, visible and historical entry into Jerusalem and what he did there, and yet also about his entry into the inner Jerusalem – the seething holy city as writer / poet Malcolm Guite calls it –  of our own hearts. In his poem Palm Sunday he suggests that we pose a few questions about our inner lives. 

Now to the gate of my Jerusalem,
The seething holy city of my heart,
The Saviour comes. But will I welcome him?
Oh crowds of easy feelings make a start;
They raise their hands get caught up in the singing,
And think the battle won. Too soon they'll find
The challenge, the reversal he is bringing…

The expectations of the crowd as well as my own are easily displaced. Disappointment follows. Jesus understood, as he wept over Jerusalem. It's taken me years to understand that scene. But somehow as I've returned to him repeatedly with misplaced expectations and disappointments he has met me with compassion and, of course, grace. 

I've had my own intimate encounter with Jesus this past few months as I came to terms not just with a diagnosis of breast cancer but the difficult acceptance of the loss of Wendy Dubois, Elder of Redemption and friend, to cancer.

Wendy texted me in November during a Sunday service about her diagnosis.

I texted her several weeks later about mine, and she died shortly after. The gate in my heart closed and the walls went up for a season as I struggled to find my anchor in the dark days of January following her death and my own upcoming surgery in February. My journal entry records a time of depression, anguish, fear, doubt, repentance, faith, confidence and then true trust. Trust based on the progression in Holy Week that leads us to a new and greater understanding of what our Christian faith is about: cleansing the temple of our hearts, acknowledging his death on the cross for our sins as the means of a new life that is full of hope and faith, and perhaps fewer misplaced expectations.

I’m grateful to have recovered what Eugene Peterson refers to as my 'resurrection centre' – not just for my life, but Wendy's as well. The death and resurrection of Jesus creates and then makes available the reality in which we become God's workmanship. (Ephesians 2:10) I need to be reminded not just during Holy Week but especially those times when the gate in my heart closes and the walls go up. This year especially I’m looking forward to celebrating Easter with all of you.  

P.S. Follow along with the continuation of this selected passage with the upcoming blogs of this lenten season here.

Deborah Phillips

Deborah A. M. Phillips is an Elder at Redemption. She is the author of the novel Argonauta.  Her poetry, and essays have been published in English and French. Deborah previously worked as a church planter. She taught at Institute Biblique du Québec, and is the former Director of Women's Ministries for the province of Québec.  

This is Our Story

And you were dead in the trespasses and sins in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience—among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind. But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved—and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. ~Ephesians 2:1-9

How have these weeks of lent been for you? Have you taken the time, as suggested by Sarah, to take those (usually uncomfortable) steps toward freedom by confessing and repenting of your sins? Did you set something aside and/or pick something up in order to “turn (your) heart’s focus – from a ‘once was’ to an ‘even now’”? I must admit that I’ve not spent as much time meditating on our passage as I’d hoped to, but in the time I have, I’ve found focusing on our Ephesians passage has given me a glimpse of the place from whence we have come – it’s not pretty, is it? That old story is not a nice story, but it is not the story in which we now live.

As we continue meditating on this passage, I hope you’re going to soak in this stark contrast – where we were, in darkness, and where are been brought – “the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus.”  As Rebecca beautifully said, Jesus’ story is now our story. We are in Christ. His story is now our story.

In the old story, we were “children of wrath.” In the new story we are children of God (John 1:12, Romans 8:14, Galatians 3:26, Galatians 4:5).

In the old story we were dead in our trespasses and sins. In the new story we have been made alive together with Christ, free to walk as who we truly are.

In the old story, we were following the patterns of this world. In the new story we are evidence of God’s mercy, grace, and love - “so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness.” God wants to show who He is, and He is using us to do that. We are God’s show-and-tell. What an honour!

In the old story we were striving to carry out the desires of the body and the mind. In the new story we get “to work joyfully with him for the redemption of all creation.”

Let us tell His story (now our story), and “boldly testify to the power and love of our Lord, Jesus Christ.” And this is surely the thing to which we testify – “the gift of God.” We didn’t write ourselves into this grand narrative. The Author has given us a place in this story, in Christ. It is not our own doing, and no amount of doing will make it so.

Let us therefore boast in Christ, share His incredible story.

This is my story, this is my song,
Praising my Savior all the day long;
This is my story, this is my song,
Praising my Savior all the day long.
~ Fanny J. Crosby

P.S. Follow along with the continuation of this selected passage with the upcoming blogs of this lenten season here.

Laura Bulk

Laura is a proud Dutch-woman from Saanichton, BC. She has been part of the family for as long as she remembers, and has been part of the Redemption Church community since 2012. She is also passionate about advocating for human dignity and occupational justice, and is doing her PhD in the area of blindness in the hopes of advocating for change. She loves to make food for people, play games, walk (fast) with a friend, dance and laugh – if you like any of those things, give her a ring!

Beyond Forgiveness

"As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient. All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our flesh and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature deserving of wrath. But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved. And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus." ~Ephesians 2:1-7

Paul compares where we came from to what God has done for us, while we were yet sinners. He, who is rich in mercy, raised us from the dead, and made us alive in Christ Jesus. God goes beyond delivering us from death and forgiving us of our sins—He raised us up with Christ, and seated us with Christ in the heavenly realms. All this is done that He might be glorified, and that, through us, He might demonstrate the riches of his grace and his loving kindness towards us in Christ Jesus. Do you believe He has done this for you? Do you really believe this?

While God can demonstrate His creative power and display His glory in the amazing beauty of His creation, Scriptures tell us that the primary way His loving kindness and the riches of His grace is exhibited is in how He relates and deals with us. Rather than treating us as our sins deserve or repaying us for our iniquities, God forgives us of all our sins, and raises us up in Christ Jesus. He did not just write off the debt and pretend it did not exist, but placed the penalty for our sin on Christ who paid it on our behalf. That alone should be enough to bowl us over completely and bring us to our knees with gratitude and humility. The Great Exchange on the Cross has become our Great Escape.

Like the Prodigal Son, we should be running to God and begging Him to take us in, in light of what He has done. And we would consider ourselves lucky if He lets us come back into His household as a servant. This is because we know that if we were to give our whole life (which is no longer ours) to serve Him, we can never repay Him for His mercy. Never. The debt is simply too big. 

But Jesus did not only die to save us from the penalty of sin, but God has seen it fit to elevate us and seat us with Christ. Like the Father of the Prodigal Son, He restores us as His children, and gives us a place at the table! He gives us the full meal deal complete with inheritance as His heirs. The Psalmist provides us with a picture of the richness of God’s grace in Psalm 103: God forgives all your sins; heals all your diseases; redeems your life from the pit; crowns you with love and compassion; satisfies all your desires with good things. He has compassion on us as a father has compassion on His children.

If we should boast, let us boast in His great mercy. May we boast in the fact that He is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in love! Now that we have been restored to right relationship with God in Christ, let us go forth to freely share the good news of His forgiveness, seek to bring His healing to the broken world around us, and work joyfully with Him for the redemption of all creation.

P.S. Follow along with the continuation of this selected passage with the upcoming blogs of this lenten season here.

Cheryl Wong Miklos

Originally from Malaysia, Cheryl came to Canada in 2005 to pursue her master's degree at Regent College where she now serves as an Admission Counsellor. She is grateful to have met her husband at Redemption Church and that they can continue to be part of the family here. If you love food, or love thinking, talking, reading, watching films about food, she'd like to get to know you. Unfortunately, no photo is available as she prefers not to post personal photos online for privacy and security reasons.

 

Forgiven and Free

“As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient. All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our flesh and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature deserving of wrath. But because of His great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions- it is by grace you have been saved.” ~Ephesians 2:1-5

I can’t help but wonder at the author of these words. Before he became known as Paul, Saul was a man who actively pursued the persecution of Christians. He gave his approval for their murder (Acts 7:54-60) and was passionate for their imprisonment (Acts 9:2). He was not indifferent or apathetic, rather he was a man on a mission of destruction. And yet the Lord spoke these words about him, “this man is to be my chosen instrument to carry my name to the Gentiles and their kings, and before the people of Israel” (Acts 9:15).

Here was a man who so obviously did nothing to earn salvation and everything to earn God’s wrath, even so grace was extended to him.

When I think of Paul, I regard him as an amazing person. Yes, he did unspeakable acts, things that could have lingered in his soul and tormented him under the revelation of his new life in Christ, but he boldly shared the gospel. Imagine if Paul had allowed his sin to weigh heavily in his memories; the persecution of people whose only crime was to follow Christ, a “crime” he himself was now committing. His sins would have been like the proverbial ball and chain around his ankle hindering him, slowing him down. Instead, Paul allowed the recognition of what the cross had done for him, an acceptance of this gift freely given, to remove the potentially crippling effect of sin on his life. Moreover, he used the revelation of his salvation to fuel him forward. He professed the gospel with zeal because he fully understood from whence he had come and the hope into which he had been reborn. He professed and lived this truth:

“If anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here! All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting people’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation. We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God. God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God” (2 Cor 5:16-21).

I often reflect on the active spiritual battle that wages war on our heart, soul and mind. On any given day there is a conflict of great consequence taking place in the Heavens; one that endeavours to make us remember and hang onto our sin, to keep our eyes fixed on ourselves and not on Jesus, and thus interfere with the race marked out for us. But we are called to “throw off the sin that so easily entangles,” to remember the undeserved place we have been given. Although sometimes challenging, we must simply accept that we have been fully forgiven because of the grace extended to us. When we do this, we proclaim Jesus as the victor. The alternative is to carry sin with us and thus shift the victory into enemy territory.

Paul’s story is also our story. Our conversion moment may not have been as dramatic as Paul’s, but the salvation story is the same for all. We have all been washed clean by the blood of Christ. We have all been rescued from the pit and covered with sacrificial love and gracious provision that required nothing from us but surrender. We have received redemption from the death due us, and the life of freedom we cannot earn. We need to live in this truth! Allow it to penetrate our heart, soul and mind, to cut through things that hinder because God sees us as His instruments. Like Paul, he has chosen each of us for a purpose. With abandon, let us turn away from the anchor of sin and humbly accept God’s beautiful gift of grace and so boldly testify to the power and love of our Lord, Jesus Christ.

“But because of His great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions- it is by grace you have been saved.”

P.S. Follow along with the continuation of this selected passage with the upcoming blogs of this lenten season here.

Rina Carbol

Rina is quickly becoming one of the “oldies” in the church. She has been around since just after the doors of this church opened 28 years ago. Rina (along with her husband) raised her four children in this church and while some have strayed from the truth, Rina knows that God is faithful. After all, He saved her from complete darkness and so she knows without doubt that He is able to do the seemingly impossible in anyone. Rina loves to walk her dogs, drink coffee and exercise. She enjoys the Fall and Winter rains with their grey days, the Spring rains that reveal rainbows, and the brief sunshine of the Summer. Odd duck? Probably. Content? Very. Rina loves to pray for others. Need prayer? Ask:)

Sinful and Suffering

As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient. All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our flesh and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature deserving of wrath. ~Ephesians 2:1-3 (NIV)

What a heavy and sobering passage. If we were to end on these three verses, it would leave us in a state of great despair and hopelessness. Thankfully, we know that this isn’t the end. The passages to come will bring forth life despite our sin. However, this week, I invite you to reflect on this particular passage in an uncomfortable tension of recognizing our sin and our pain and suffering while waiting for what is to come.

We are all of a sin nature, gratifying the cravings of our sinful state and following its desires and thoughts. Sometimes we struggle with sin that just seems impossible to overcome. Sometimes we revel in sin and we don’t feel that anything is wrong with our choices…until the Holy Spirit convicts us. And sometimes we don’t even see the sin in our lives. But when we do, it can be a debilitating revelation which can lead to a myriad of responses, including but not limited to sadness, failure, and hopelessness.

Likewise, we are not alone in our sin. It is an epidemic in you and me and everyone else. Nobody escapes its presence. Sin is a tragic reality of the world we live in whether on a small scale (I’ve sinned) or large scale (the great injustice and brokenness that is happening in the world). We fight it every day on a personal level. We are affected by the sin of our families. We bring hurt to others with our sinful nature. We are collectively hurt by the unjust actions and the unexplainable tragedies in the world. Sin has a rampant and tight grasp on the whole earth like spiritual pollution. Because of this we by nature are deserving of wrath.

However, this passage identifying our sinful reality and nature is not a condemnation to us. We, ourselves cannot separate from sin on our own. Because of this, our sin actually points to our great and desperate need for a saviour: someone who is holy and pure enough to bring deliverance to us, show us grace in our failure and weep with us in our pain and suffering. Instead of living in hopelessness, we can put our hope in something and someone much greater than sin itself.

You are not alone in your struggles. You are not alone in your pain and suffering. You are not alone in your grief. You can cry out your grievances to God. This week, in your quiet time with God, consider taking an extra step by also confessing and repenting your sins to Him. It can be an uncomfortable practice, but recognition of our sins and confession is the first step to freedom, forgiveness, and healing. 

P.S. Follow along with the continuation of this selected passage with the upcoming blogs of this lenten season here.

Sarah Chen

Sarah is the Admin/Communications Coordinator or otherwise known as the person that lives in the office. Her office door is closed most of the time but it's only to trap all the heat inside. Actually she'd really love to meet all of you at Redemption, so please do come in and say 'hi!' Things she loves doing are reading books, cafe-hopping, and eating asian food. You are more than welcome to join her on any of these escapades. She also has an irrational love for cats, so if you have a cat, please contact her asap. 

'Once Was'...to 'Even Now'

"As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient."
Ephesians 2:1-2 (NIV)

You once were dead in your sins…You once had unbelief…You once were in darkness. The ‘once’ indicates a change from what you were doing in the past to doing something different in the present. How often though we are left with consequences or thin threads that still tie us to the past and the ways of the world, leading us into an ‘even though’. But what happens when we find ourselves in an 'even though,' even though we feel we are living a life of obedience?

The ‘even though' walk is about courage….. when it’s dark, when the road is uncertain, when fear is often your only companion, when you are overwhelmed at the length of the journey to the Light, when you know you need to move forward, but not sure what it will mean for what you leave behind. Sustenance on the 'even though' journey comes from God’s Word, time with the Holy Spirit, living generously, caring for community, fasting, and rejoicing. It means nourishing the soul on those things that bring God closer to your heart and less on the ‘stuff’ the world says is important. We walk in a way that does not always default to wondering if God is angry, questioning whether He is good, or assuming He is absent when days are difficult. It is contrary to the world’s way of thinking – a mind-shift, a ‘once was’ no longer.

Obedience is our anchor – disobedience frays the cord that has tethered us to the heart of the Father. We cannot live as the world lives and expect God to transform our lives. If we desire Him above all else, the 'even though's,' whatever they are, will hold little substance. It will be, "Yet will I Praise" ringing from the halls of our hearts, “I am a Child of God” our proclamation, and “How then shall I live?” determining our steps.

What is your 'even though?' Walking loneliness daily, heavy financial strains, broken friendships, illness, loss of dreams, uncertain future, secret sins that plague, cords too strongly tied to the world, anxiety, fear, wondering if God really is near? What is God asking you to trust Him for this Lent Season? What is He asking you to be obedient to? Can your mouth open in praise even though the pain has stiffened heart and lips? In practical terms, it might mean putting down the remote, giving generously, extending hospitality to the lonely, open to new ways to be of service, speaking boldly about your faith, or drowning out the chaotic voice of the world to hear only the whisper of the Saviour? It is more than just giving up something, it is a turning of our heart’s focus – a ‘once was' to an ‘even now.' 

P.S. Follow along with the continuation of this selected passage with the upcoming blogs of this lenten season here.

Terri Rosenau

Terri is a mother to one, a sister to three, a friend to anyone who wants one, and a passionate lover of beauty. Her heart has two homelands – Vancouver and Uganda. She loves to cook and create. She’s a child of God and His Master's piece in progress. She lives under grace, with a grateful heart, but often with a dash of doubt and fear.

A Lent Primer and Invitation

Lent is to Easter what Advent is to Christmas.  At Christmas time our anticipation includes telling the stories that lead up to Jesus’ birth and decorating the physical space around us, whereas Lent preparation often includes repentance and a stripping back: a kind of all-of-life un-decorating if you will.  Lent is an opportunity to strip back the non-essentials, give up some creature comforts and sacrifice some pleasures – with the purpose of identifying our many competing desires and with the goal of focusing more fully on our hearts’ truest longing; unity with Christ himself.  Giving up certain habits or mindsets will expose the things that may be preventing us from experiencing true freedom and wholeness in Christ.  Setting aside a particular season gives us the opportunity to ‘walk through the valley of the shadow of death’ as we face our fears, wounds, desires, and sins – all the way to Jesus’ death on a cross and then through to his resurrection after the cross. 

And it is a daily invitation to put on Christ as we die to ourselves. 

Just like a season of stillness can deepen the meaningfulness of our activity, distance makes the heart grow fonder, and play is more valued after work – so too will the feast and celebration of the resurrection at Easter be amplified after a season of Lenten fasting and acknowledging the death around us.  And so with this paradox of feasting and fasting, we prepare to enter the season of Lent.  Pancake Tuesday or Shrove Tuesday is the last day of Ordinary Time before Lent.  Historically, those who observed Lent were compelled to clear out their cupboards of milk, butter, and eggs before a Lenten fast began on Ash Wednesday.  And so, the tradition of Pancakes.  The concept and practice of feasting evolved so much that Mardi Gras (Fat Tuesday) grew into a full-blown carnival and celebration of excess before the fast.  Catholics, Protestants, and Orthodox Christian still observe Fat Tuesday all over the world – and you can do it in your homes as well. 

First thing on Wednesday morning, after the simple or elaborate feasting, the religious folks would head off to church for a simple service where they would be marked with an ash cross on their foreheads as the scripture was pronounced: ‘from dust you have come and to dust you will return.’  Lent is absolutely a time of spiritual formation, but it is equally a reminder of our physical nature and limits and our total dependence on the creator and giver of life Himself.  That we were given life and breath, and one day, our decomposing bodies will give life back to the earth around them. 

Lent is a wonderful opportunity for Christians to remember that because Jesus went ahead of us, we do not need to fear death. 

‘Even though we walk through the valley of the shadow of death’ – because we will find ourselves in brief or extended seasons in this valley –  we do not need to be afraid because the Lord is with us.  And furthermore, he has promised us in Ephesians 2 (our selected passage for Lent this year) that we are made alive in Christ himself. 

We do not fear death.  In fact – death is often the necessary precursor to new life!  If maple trees didn’t live through the cold death of winter, we would not get the necessary conditions for a sap run.  Without the death of winter, there would be no maple syrup!  And what about the incredible life and complex ecological facilitation of a nurse log?  A fallen old tree provides support and protection to new seedlings as it decays.  Life comes from death.  Spring and maple syrup come after the winter!

So how do we enter this season?  We look at iT as an opportunity for life and growth through a kind of death.

And we should expect to be surprised by joy: “Our self-sacrifices serve no purpose unless, by laying aside this or that desire, we are able to focus on our heart’s deepest longing: unity with Christ.  In him – in his suffering and death, his resurrection and triumph – we find our truest joy.” (Bread and Wine)  But I would be lying if I didn’t tell you that this joy is costly.  Because it can only come after recognizing the horror of our sin that crucified Jesus.  During the season of Lent, we cannot separate the abstract idea of death from the reality of our sin.  But even in that, God’s grace is greater.  And he has sent his son Jesus to go ahead of us.  And we know that he has already made a way for us.  A way for us to be made alive again. 

Friends – if you have never observed the season of Lent before, consider taking the time to think about life and death.  Sin, repentance, forgiveness.  Your own physical limitations.  The many competing desires that may be preventing you from living the kind of wholly renewed life that Jesus has for you.  And if you have observed Lent before, then welcome back to the time of year when you feel more struggle, become more keenly aware of your physical desires and needs, and ultimately make great and small efforts to remember that Jesus really is at the centre of everything.  And that no death is too much, too great, for him to find some way to offer life.

Dear Lord – we are excited and terrified at the opportunity to reflect on our sin.  We know you’re good, and your grace is greater than all our sin.  But that doesn’t make it any easier to have the courage to examine the depths of what might be lurking in our hearts and our minds.  So today we call on your great peace that transcends all understanding to guard and guide us as we take the next steps towards you on our journeys of faith.  Jesus – we want to be surprised by your joy and so we entrust ourselves fully to you.  

Lisl Baker

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Lisl Baker can't believe she's been in Vancouver for over 10 years now. She loves all things French, turning the little things in life into fun adventures, and soccer. Oh, and she happens to be quite fond of the Redemption Church community!