It has been an interesting first week of Lent. Those of you who read my blog and Facebook posts know that my Lenten sacrifice is the one thing I realistically cannot afford to give up... time. So.. .realistically... it was the one thing I knew I had to give up, and give back to God.
Every single day, I've been tempted to "break the fast" and keep for myself that one hour a day I've promised to give to God. Every single day, I've held firm. Every single day, it's been proven to be the best hour of the day.
Wednesday, my hour a day was spent in the sanctuary of First United Methodist Church, Pensacola. The weekly Lenten sermon was delivered by Dr. Geoffrey Lentz. The sermon had an interesting title: "Folsom Prison Good News." He even sang a stanza from the Johnny Cash song, "Folsom Prison Blues." (And. He. Rocked. It.)
The sermon was deep, moving, and poked around in my heart. I have a feeling it poked around in every heart in the crowded sanctuary.
The sermon setting was the cross... and the two prisoners who flanked Christ on Golgotha. When Dr. Lentz asked the questions, "What is the prison that is holding you captive?" and "What are the the locked doors in your life?" the sanctuary air went still. He let the questions hang.
Just long enough for each person to mentally go to that locked room.
Then, he spoke of the one who holds the key. The only One who holds the key.The only key to unlocking whatever door it is that is keeping His best from coming into your life.
I thought about the locked doors that have come and gone in my life. The habits, relationships, and attitudes that kept me distanced from God. I bet you have spent some time in rooms like that. Sometimes you really do feel like a prisoner... trapped in a lifestyle, relationship, situation, or mindset from which you cannot break free.
Dr. Lentz reminded us that there is a "jailbreak" available to us. We only need to look up, reach out, and accept His key.The key that opens the door, and leads us to a better way. The key that leads to freedom.
Once again... this hour was one that I was tempted to keep for myself. Once again.. I gave it back to God.
And it was the best hour of the day.