Righteous Mind with Rev. Cynthia T. Turner
  • Righteous Mind with Rev. Cynthia T. Turner
  • Righteous Mind with Rev. Cynthia T. Turner
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    Soul Rythem

    Righteous Mind with Rev. Cynthia T. Turner

    Here we go again. Another Lenten season. This time of year opens the door to a truckload of mixed emotions. Excitement over the possibility of returning to my First Love, rekindling the fire, hearing His voice, feeling more acutely His unmistakable presence and walking in rhythm with His teaching. This is pure bliss and it awakens in me the lyrics of the hymn “O for a Closer Walk with God:” “Where is the blessedness I knew when first I met the Lord; where is the soul-refreshing view of Jesus and His Word.” That’s the joyous hopeful side of Lent.

    But then there’s the intruding dark reality that this 40-day journey brings. It will be fraught with all sorts of temptations already set to derail the trek up the mountain. It’s during this time we pause to recall our own mortality. For it is from dust that we came and it is to dust we shall return. (Gen. 3:19)  And in remembering, we repent and realize our dependence on Christ.

    So while I anticipate landing that first step on another journey God-ward, I already lament the tawdry temptations and erratic failures that await to trip me up. The coffee aromas that speak to me and ask what will one cup hurt. The time crunches that push prayer to later o’clock. The irritable interruptions that will detract from my goal of peaceful days. And the weighted-eyelids that will shut at hours I’m usually awake, simply because I said I would spend the hour praying.  I know it’s not wise to declare defeat at the outset, but I’ve been this way before. To be sure, I’ll do my very best to honor my commitments but, like the prodigal child on his way home to his father, I am already rehearsing my forgiveness prayers just in case.

    I haven’t settled on my list of do’s and don’t’s yet, but they’ll likely include giving up some television, meat, sweets, breads, coffee and chocolate. (I know chocolate is a sweet but it is worthy of its own food group in my mind.) Although some would argue otherwise, to me letting go of things is an important part of the process.  It proves how easily I replace my dependency on God with things that distract me from Him. During Lent, when cravings roar to be filled, I’ll swap their noisy emptiness with the Bread of Life and with attention to Christ’s unfailing sufficiency.  

    But the 40 days are never just about letting go. It’s also about drawing near. So in addition to pulling away, I will also add to the season more dedicated devotional time, more prayerful considerations that make me fully present throughout the day, and a daily hour of more disciplined prayer. Why so much prayer? I read somewhere that we do everything else more than we pray. I’m guilty. The article said we even give better than we pray. I’m guilty there too.

    So, I’ll start the trek with these words: Forgive me Father, for I have sinned. My frailty is ever before me. My weaknesses torture and mock me. And yet, I press pass the failures, because the victory is not in my perfection; the victory is in the One who stands with open arms to receive me in whatever condition I find myself when I finally arrive. So in the words of one who eagerly awaits, “Let’s go!”

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    During Lent, the Rev. Dr. Cynthia T. Turner, pastor of the Dayspring Community Church in Lanham, MD, will write about the “Righteous Mind” on the Soul Rhythms blog. Click here to read other pieces by Rev. Turner.

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