I don't write as much as I have in the past. On here. Or in my journal. I don't really know why...I know on here - I struggle with the fact that others might read it and I always want it to be good and real and a learning experience...blah, blah, blah. I tend to be a people pleaser so I want to please in these venues as well. But I have to say that I love reading what some other people write and it always makes me miss writing.
So here I am.
For lent I am using Brennan Manning's "19 Mercies: Spiritual Retreat" which is a new section in the back of his book Ragamuffin Gospel.
The first mercy is "Come". Which I read yesterday along with Psalm 139. I might come back and write my thoughts/struggles about that later.
The second mercy is "Don't Wait"
My reading for today was from Mark 7:36-50
Which is honestly one of the stories that I struggle with a bit. How absolutely disgusting would it be to cry some tears on a mans dirty feet and then wipe them with your hair...and then cover the feet with scented oil and kiss them? But if I don't allow myself to get distracted by those details - I can picture the other people there watching and judging her for her previous actions, as well as judging Jesus for allowing her to touch him. What a beautiful sacrifice she gave.
I love what Manning says about this:
"What drew Mary forward to perform her lovely act of adoration? I think she was simply overcome by the beauty and compassion of this magnetic man, Jesus! And I imagine that His eyes called out to her: Mary, come to Me. Come now. Don’t wait until you get your act cleaned up and your head on straight. Don’t delay until you rescue your reputation, until you’re free of pride and lust, of jealousy and self-hatred. Come to Me now in your brokenness and sinfullness. Come now, with all your fears and insecurities. I will love you just the way you are–just the way you are, not the way you think you should be. "
Her sacrifice - her willingness to be judged by others didn't matter because she wanted to give something to Christ. NOW. And because of her gift - he gave her peace and grace and forgiveness. Jesus says in vs. 47 "Therefore, I tell you, her many sins have been forgiven—for she loved much. But he who has been forgiven little loves little." She sacrificed and received much and will continue to love much.
I wonder sometimes if the reason why I (and many of us) take Jesus' love and grace for granted is because we don't sacrifice much. OR don't think the sacrifices that we have made amount to much.
I have 2 friends who are similar and they seem to get bogged down by feeling like they don't ever get enough done. They don't like to receive from others because they don't feel like they do for others. These are two people who give constantly to others. But they don't recognize it. They sacrifice and love and extend grace and hope often! But they can't receive Jesus' sacrifice, love and grace because they don't realize their own sacrifice. And feel like they have to do more before they can receive anything from Christ. But he is saying to them...to us all...come. NOW. Don't wait. Don't spend time trying to look better, getting your house in order, working out, getting distracted by all the things that distract us...come NOW.
My prayer for myself and others this lenten season is that we learn to echo Jesus' journey into the Wilderness for 40 days. To learn more about sacrifice. To recognize that we are forgiven just as we are. NOW.