Thursday, February 07, 2008
Yesterday was Ash Wednesday and we are officially in the season of Lent - when we mentally prepare ourselves for Easter. There have been years when I have sacrificially given up something specific for Lent, but this year I just don't feel lead to. Part of this is because I already feel like I am in a season of self-sacrifice and denial. Hubby and I have been going over our budget and we really need to tighten up. Because of this I am thinking carefully through every purchase I make for our home. This even extends to groceries. I am already denying myself many things that I have to admit are "wants" and not "needs." This even extends to most convenience foods. If I can feasably make something from scratch, I will. I am happy to be doing this for the most part, but there are days when the temptation to buy something to make my life easier is strong. I can't say that I am doing this for Lent because I plan to continue this indefinitely.
While I am on the subject of Lent, I want to share this scrapbook page I just put together. Our church does this cool thing for Lent called Cross Walk. Each year 40 plain 2 x 4 crosses are passed out and the recipients decorate them and write a devotion based on their inspiration. The crosses line the sidewalks in front of our church - one for each day of Lent. The devotions are printed in a booklet available to everyone who "walks the walk." It is wonderful to see how others are inspired by the cross. Our family did one. It was a collaborative effort. Elizabeth searched for bible verses she liked for a theme. We discussed them as a family and came up with an idea. Barry cut the wings and painted the parts. I painted the words and wrote the devotion. This scrapbook page shows our cross and our devotion. Credits for the page can be found here.
Here is what it says:
Under the Refuge of His Wings
“May you be richly rewarded by the LORD, the God of Israel, under whose wings you have come to take refuge.” Ruth 2:12
Read Ruth 1-2
The story of Ruth is the story of a woman, widowed and childless. She was faced with a choice. She could stay in her homeland with her father and mother or she could accompany her mother-in-law, Naomi, as she traveled back to where she came from, the homeland of her deceased husband. She could stay where she was comfortable or leave everything she knew to live as a foreigner in a land with very different ways and beliefs. In a dramatic moment she begs Naomi to let her join her saying, “Where you go I will go, and where you stay I will stay. Your people will be my people and your God my God.” (Ruth 1:16) Significantly, she not only chooses Naomi, but, in faith, she chooses Naomi’s God. This decision is blessed.
Ruth is welcomed in this new land. Although a foreigner, she is allowed to glean the fields after the harvesters, and is given food, water and protection by a relative of her deceased husband, Boaz who takes note of her hard work and dedication to her mother-in-law. Ruth is so grateful for this and asks Boaz, “Why have I found such favor in your eyes that you notice me—a foreigner?" (Ruth 2:10) He replies, "I've been told all about what you have done for your mother-in-law since the death of your husband—how you left your father and mother and your homeland and came to live with a people you did not know before. May the LORD repay you for what you have done. May you be richly rewarded by the LORD, the God of Israel, under whose wings you have come to take refuge." (Ruth 2:11-12)
When Ruth chose to love Naomi and follow her and care for her, she was also choosing to stay under the protection of God’s wings. She was able to give up the refuge of her homeland and parents because she was instead taking refuge with God who is far superior.
The bible is filled with reminders for us:
How priceless is your unfailing love!
Both high and low among men
find refuge in the shadow of your wings. Psalm 36:7
Have mercy on me, O God, have mercy on me,
for in you my soul takes refuge.
I will take refuge in the shadow of your wings
until the disaster has passed. Psalm 57:1
I long to dwell in your tent forever
and take refuge in the shelter of your wings. Psalm 61:4
He will cover you with his feathers,
and under his wings you will find refuge;
his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart. Psalm: 91:4
Often we try to live our lives using our own strength and life is difficult. We forget that God has called us to an easier way. We only need to choose to come under the protection of His wings and follow Him.
To see photos of previous year's crosses you can go to the church site. As soon as there is a nice day to take photos, the current crosses will be posted, too.