Return to me with all your heart

“Yet even now, says the Lord, repent and return to me with all your heart” Joel 2:13

Today is Ash Wednesday, the day the Church takes its first steps into the Lenten season, a journey toward deeper devotion to God. This journey calls us to stop whatever it is we’re doing that is distracting us from growing in our love for God so that we can enter more intentionally into the disciplines of prayer, self-examination and repentance. But these disciplines – as significant as they are in themselves – are not ends in themselves. They are a means to an end and that end is that I would return to God with all my heart.

This day has often been reduced to the question: “What am I giving up for Lent?”  This is a good question, but it can only take us so far. The real question for today is: “How will I find ways to return to God with all my heart?” And this leads to an even deeper question: “Where in my life have I grown away from God and what are the practices and decisions that will help me find my way back to him?”

Yet even now, says the Lord, return to me with all your heart.  These are such intimate, vulnerable and compassionate words spoken by the King of the Universe to me - not only on this day - but on every day.

What could keep me from him?

4 Responses to “Return to me with all your heart”

  1. Jana Hall March 9, 2011 at 12:37 pm #

    Love it. We do water this time down and make it all about that “one” thing we are giving up. It’s about so much more than that, which we all know, but this was a wonderful and inspiring reminder. Thank you for sharing!

  2. Teresa Sherwood March 9, 2011 at 12:43 pm #

    Thank you for these words, Sharon. The Mission Department staff will be meeting together in a few minutes for a time of reflection on Ash Wednesday before we go as a group to the Chapel for imposition of ashes. I will share your message with them as well.
    It is so easy to become consumed with our busyness. Keeping this day as a reminder of the importance of seeking a peaceful time to renew our realtionship with Christ is so important.

  3. Amy Vanpool March 9, 2011 at 2:18 pm #

    Thank you! A wonderful explanation of Lent. I realize I spend the most time with God when I am practicing yoga. It is a quite hour I am able to spend in prayer. For Lent, I am dedicating at least 45 minutes a day to practice the disciplines of exercise (yoga) and prayer together.

  4. Lucy March 9, 2011 at 6:21 pm #

    Wonderful and meaningful words about Lent, Sharon. Thank you.

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