This Lent, I’m using Edward Hays book, “A Lenten Hobo Honeymoon: Daily Reflections for the Journey of Lent.” In it Hays writes, “While both the idea of a honeymoon and of being a hobo might seem inappropriate for the holy season of Lent, remember the words of the great patriarch Moses, who proudly declared, ‘My father was a wandering Aramean, and we were traveling vagabonds and vagrants who found our way to Egypt and lived as aliens’ (Deuteronomy 26:5). Your spiritual ancestors were hobos, so rejoice in your proud heritage of traveling vagabonds as you begin these forty days.”
At the beginning he suggests we draw out a “Lenten Hobo Map” which is a list of our Lenten Works. My map is a simple one. I plan to pray every day but at least 2 – 3 times week it will be a long prayer. My reasoning for this is, I always pray but I’m lazy about spending a whole lot of time with God. I figured if I set myself a small goal such as this, I might be successful. In these first two weeks of Lent I’ve been successful so I plan to focus more on prayer until Easter.
I also set out some other works to do. It helps me to look at the list now for it reminds me what I planned on doing. I’m trying to set time limits on things and stick to it. This is a tough one because I’m such a perfectionist. Right now I’m working on an article for submission to the Presbyterian Outlook. Mark Pinsky, the author of “Amazing Gifts: Stories of Faith, Disability, and Inclusion” wrote a guest commentary for the Outlook which really bothered me. I decided to submit some sort of response so I’ve been working on an article. I thought I would have it done by today but it still needs some work. The funny thing is, it probably won’t be published so I suspect I’m writing it more for me than for anyone else. Reading my list reminds me that I need to get this done and sent off tomorrow – no matter what.
My second work is to stop agonizing. This is a real challenge for me. I also plan to listen to classical music every day for this helps my creative side. I’m able to listen to music but the agonizing thing is a bit more challenging! I’m also supplementing this with Richard Rohr’s book “Radical Grace.” It is a good combination.
In today’s devotional Hays writes “After presenting the various worries and concerns of your prayers of petition to God, try to empty yourself of those cares, as well as your plans for tomorrow or memories of yesterday. Such empty space at the end of prayer gives God a chance to have the last word. And to those who might warn, ‘An empty mind is the devil’s workshop,’ you can reply, ‘An empty mind is God’s playground!’ For God’s creative play always completes our work more fruitfully than we could ever imagine.”
I find as I listen to music, God is using my mind and feelings as a playground. It’s hard to describe where my spirit goes when I listen but it does feel as if I am playing with God. Hays ends his devotional with these words: “Come, Beloved God; write boldly on the white page of my heart those four shocking, scandalous words, ‘You are my lover.” While I understand what he is saying, I prefer to think about God who says to me “You are loved.” I do need to hear this over and over again. “I am loved” for sometimes along with many others, I don’t feel so loved. Yet, I AM loved. All of us are loved by God and this is good news indeed.