Thursday After Ash Wednesday

I'm a nondenominational evangelical*, but I still observe Lent as a time for preparation for Good Friday and Easter. Though Lenten observance is not Biblically required, I have found it in past years to be a useful tool to focus even more on the cross.

During Lent, I have decided to post my reflections on my usual posting days (Tuesday and Thursday). If a reflection particularly lends itself to a comic post, then I'll do it, but I want my primary focus to be preparing for Easter instead of coming up with blog content. I will publish my reflections instead of simply shutting down the blog for Lent because I hope the posting of Scripture will encourage people's souls.

However, my text blogging tends to be more disorganized (which is why I chose the formats that I did for this and my other blog, Heroic Bytes. I hope that you will be patient with me through this process.

Thank you for reading, and may God bless your own preparations for Easter.

*I'm not fond of labels for many reasons, but sometimes they're helpful.

Matthew 4:16

The people dwelling in darkness
have seen a great light,
and for those dwelling in the region and shadow of death,
on them a light has dawned.”

The poetry -- its descriptiveness, not genre -- of this verse struck me in my devotional reading today. A few thoughts that came to mind were that people dwelling in the darkness do not know that they are dwelling in darkness. There is nothing to which they can compare their existence. The light, however, provides a point of comparison. The brightness is painful and blinding, frightening and new. Because of the light, people can see outside of themselves, outside of their circumstances. When light dawns, some of these, those that the light draws in despite (or because of) its immensity, come to understand their former condition. They name the former way of life death and the shadow of death and name this new presence light and life.

However, though Christ has brought me out of darkness and into the light, though I abide in Him and He in me, though I have been made a new creation, there is still much darkness in my soul. The closer I draw to Christ and understand the immensity of His Light, the more magnified my sins become. The light has dawned and continues to shine into my life, and the idols I hold close are revealed for what they are. They are not my saviors, but they will poison my heart against my true Savior, the one I love. The heart is deceptive above all things and desperately sick.

I am reminded of a recent blog post likening purging ourselves of sin to the body's self-purging during food poisoning. In the violent and sickening convulsions, our bodies know what's good for us. It recognizes a harmful substance and gets rid of it as quickly as possible.

But I am not able to get rid of my sin. Not on my own. And if my reflection on Christ simply leads me to mourn my sin, I have missed the point. The purpose of the light is not simply to define the darkness. It is not simply to see. This is where the analogy breaks down. Christ is light, but He is also a person. By shining in the darkness, He is not simply an entity emanating photons but extending relationship. I mourn my sin, but I don't stop there. That mourning draws me closer to my Savior.