As we enter another week of our Lenten journey, guide us to the path that leads to you. Fill our hearts with gratitude, patience, strength, and peace as we strive to become the best versions of ourselves, honestly admitting our shortcomings and sins. As we renew our resolve each day to become better people, let us hear your voice in the deepest reaches of our hearts. Give us rest in you. Help us to accept others, showing them your great love instead of casting judgment. Stay with us through the busy days this week and remind us that when we need comfort, solitude, wisdom, or guidance, we can always turn to you. Help us develop discipline and generosity through fasting and almsgiving, and come closer to you through prayer this Lent. In your name we pray, Amen.
Four years ago this Christmas was a first Bible study with my father. We discussed Ecclesiastes, a book concerned with the purpose and value of human life. While admitting the existence of a divine plan, it considers such a plan to be hidden from man, who seeks happiness without ever finding it. Life, then, is an enigma beyond human ability to solve.
“He has made everything appropriate to its time, and has put the timeless into their hearts, without men’s ever discovering, from beginning to end, the work which God has done. I recognized that there’s nothing better than to be glad and do well during life. For every man, moreover, to eat and drink and enjoy the fruits of all his labor is a gift of God. I recognized that whatever God does will endure forever; there is no adding to it, or taking from it. Thus has God done that he may be revered. What now is has already been; what is to be, already is; and God restores what would otherwise be displaced.”
Revisiting this text, just after my father’s passing, does make me reflect on the purpose and value of human life. This divine plan is, in fact, beyond my human ability to solve. What now is, has already been.
My heart is timeless. From beginning to end. My father was a gift from God.
So, as those who have been chosen of God, holy and beloved, put on a heart of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience; bearing one another, and forgiving each other, whoever has a complaint against anyone; just as the Lord forgave you, so also should you. Beyond all these things put on love, which is the perfect bond of unity. Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body; and be thankful. Let the word of Christ richly dwell within you, with all wisdom teaching and admonishing one another with psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with thankfulness in your hearts to God. Whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through him to God the Father.