So just 3 days of Lent Journey remain. In any good learning situation it is always important to review, revise and renew what we have learned.
The first lesson is that spirituality can become selfish. Isaiah 58:3 says, “Look, you serve your own interest on your fast day, and oppress all your workers.” It’s a problem, says the prophet, when believers reduce spirituality to a mere tool for our own benefit. In this particular case, the spiritual practice of fasting had become a masquerade for self-service.
The reason people were fasting, it appears, was so God would do what they wanted. Some folks kneel to pray only because God might come around to giving them what they want. Some folks attend worship as an attempt to get God on their side. Bible scholar Alex Motyer points out that this is more of a Canaanite mentality than an Israelite mentality. The Canaanites were the ones who tried to do things for the gods so they could get a reward. The Israelites, on the other hand, undertook spiritual acts in gratitude to the God who had saved them. Their piety was a response to God’s grace. One sin we might repent of during Lent is the sin of self-serving spirituality.
It is reported that St. Wenceslaus, King of Bohemia, one winters night, going to his devotions in the snow barefooted, his servant, who endeavoured to imitate his master’s piety, began to faint, through the inclemency of the weather, till the king commanded him to follow him, and to set his feet in the same footsteps which his feet should mark for him. So does Jesus command us to mark His footsteps; for He has trodden down difficulties, and made the way easier and fit for our feet by the argument of His own example.
To you, O Lord, I lift up my soul.
I put my trust in you,O God,
do not let me be put to shame;
do not let my enemies exult over me.
Do not let those who wait for you be put to shame;
let those be ashamed who neglect your faithfulness,
and who act with evil intent.
Teach me your ways, O God. Amen