Could it be? Could the hold of the White Witch be loosening here in GR? I am pretty sure I heard birds chirping this morning. Furthermore, I am seeing pavement through the ice-trough that is our street! With the rise in temperature comes an anticipation for spring. We are longing for the day when we can throw open the windows, get out the buckets of Mr. Clean, and chase all the staleness and stuffiness of winter away.
This season of Lent is similar. It is an opportunity to "open the windows" of our hearts and let the fresh breezes of the gospel blow through, chasing away the staleness and stuffiness that inevitably collects. I love the psalmist in Psalm 139:23-24 where he says, "Search me, O God, and know my heart! Try me and know my thoughts! And see if there be any grievous way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting!" This is a spring cleaning type prayer, an honest invitation to allow God to "clean house" in our soul. Not in a groveling sort of way that focuses on our effort or sees a need to deny ourselves to earn God’s favor. Rather, proper Lenten “cleaning” is a fresh application of the promises of the gospel joyfully brought to bear on our lives.
What better place to look Scripturally for guidance in this Lenten season than the psalms! The psalms speak to us of life as we know it. They speak to us of orientation, disorientation, and reorientation; a cycle that seems to capture the story of humanity on a daily basis as we relate to God in the midst of a messy and broken world. During Lent this year we will learn how God uses the Book of Psalms to lead us through this ongoing cycle. Together we will explore how it teaches us to speak and sing to God in a way that expresses the full range of our emotions to God in prayer. Because psalms are prayers composed for singing, we will not only learn about them, but will pray with and from the psalms by singing them together in a variety of different forms. God’s people have been singing this biblical hymnbook to pray to God in worship for 3000 years since the time of King David. Jesus himself learned to pray using the language of psalms, and in his life and prayers we find their greatest fulfillment. As we learn the discipline and delight of following Jesus in the way of the cross during this season of Lent and preparing for the great celebration of Easter, we anticipate the guidance of God’s prayerbook.