As we journey together through Lent, Christians throughout Columbia will be sharing their own beautifully written “letters from the heart.” Each will be accompanied by a corresponding relevant scripture, and linked to sources for further study. If you would like to join us on Columbia’s Lenten journey, please send me your “letter from the heart” by email. Especially meaningful submissions will be printed. Let us continue our Lenten journey, day by day, to its glorious culmination on Easter morning.
“And forthwith, when they were come out of the synagogue, they entered into the house of Simon and Andrew, with James and John. But Simon’s wife’s mother lay sick of a fever, and anon they tell him of her. And he came and took her by the hand, and lifted her up; and immediately the fever left her, and she ministered unto them. And at even, when the sun did set, they brought unto him all that were diseased, and them that were possessed with devils. And all the city was gathered together at the door. And he healed many that were sick of divers diseases, and cast out many devils; and suffered not the devils to speak, because they knew him. And in the morning, rising up a great while before day, he went out, and departed into a solitary place, and there prayed. And Simon and they that were with him followed after him. And when they had found him, they said unto him, All [men] seek for thee. And he said unto them, Let us go into the next towns, that I may preach there also: for therefore came I forth. And he preached in their synagogues throughout all Galilee, and cast out devils. And there came a leper to him, beseeching him, and kneeling down to him, and saying unto him, If thou wilt, thou canst make me clean. And Jesus, moved with compassion, put forth [his] hand, and touched him, and saith unto him, I will; be thou clean.And as soon as he had spoken, immediately the leprosy departed from him, and he was cleansed. And he straitly charged him, and forthwith sent him away; And saith unto him, See thou say nothing to any man: but go thy way, shew thyself to the priest, and offer for thy cleansing those things which Moses commanded, for a testimony unto them. But he went out, and began to publish [it] much, and to blaze abroad the matter, insomuch that Jesus could no more openly enter into the city, but was without in desert places: and they came to him from every quarter.” (Mark 1:29-45)
During the Christmas season, it seems that we receive reminders of all we have, both the tangible and intangible, in commercial abundance. At first, the quiet atonement of Lent does not seem to lend itself to celebrating the many gifts we receive from God. However, reflecting upon today’s gospel and readings, it is clear that the appreciation for God’s abundant gifts is relevant and important to both seasons. Perhaps Lent may even be the more appropriate time for recognizing, understanding, and appreciating all the gifts God shares with us.
Celebrating all of our abundant gifts –our families, our talents, our health – more quietly and prayerfully during Lenten reflection helps me to better recognize and appreciate the sacrifices God made for us. Just as importantly, keeping in mind all I have and all I can offer to others is a necessary part of making meaningful Lenten sacrifices and helping others during this time of atonement and prayer
Co-Chairman, Cherished Closet
Columbia, South Carolina