Wednesday, 16 March 2016

Leaning Into Lent: Day 31—with Hezekiah, the Righteous Rodent

Today I got to lead chapel with Hezekiah, the Righteous Rodent, at Medicine Hat Christian School. What a lovely bunch of children—all of them, from the grade niners trying to look as if they are too old for such whimsy, to the wide-eyed kindergarteners wriggling on the gym floor.

The school theme at this time is “Image Reflecting: being made in the image of God.” Hezekiah asked if there was anybody there made in God’s image. The kindergarten kids were the first to get their hands up, without hesitation, girls and boys, faces shining, absolutely convinced, obviously recipients of good teaching. Hezekiah thought, “Wow! God must have lots of faces.”

After talking a little about how girls and boys are made in God’s image and likeness (and how he is not, but a rather a cheese loving “creeping thing" —still loved and blessed but not human), Hezekiah went on to ask who is the “radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature” (Heb 1.3). Again, the answer came quickly—Jesus.

Growing up and growing older is hard on that childlike brightness, optimism and surety. Childhood’s wonder and natural, playful acceptance gets eroded by sin—my own and others’—peer pressure and making my way in the world.

Leaning into Lent helps. An obedient, childlike doing what I’m told in honest self examination, penitence, prayer, fasting, almsgiving and reading and meditating on the Word of God will reveal any of my oppressive grown-up inhibitions and temptations to
occupy myself with things
      too great and too marvelous for me. (Psalm 131:1 ESV)
Instead, the Lenten spiritual disciplines, faithfully worked, can calm and quiet my soul like a child’s (Ps 131.2) releasing a wide-eyed, shining faced and rejuvenated trust in Jesus.