I haven't posted here since Christmas partially because I spent the last two months finishing up and publishing my first book on parenting "Presence-Based Parenting: How to parent without fear in an age of anxiety". You can click on the link to find it on Amazon.
This year Lent started on Valentines Day. The weekend before I had the privilege of speaking at a women's retreat at an international church in Paris. As I sat with women from Africa, Europe and America all coming from different faith traditions ranging from Catholic, to Pentecostal, to Reformed I had a glimpse of heaven. People from different languages, cultures, background sitting together worshiping. As I prayed with and for the women, in all our differences, there was a common longing for "home," a longing for "God's presence" and for God's kingdom here on earth.
It occurred to me that Lent and Valentines Day should always coincide, not just because "Lent" is inside VaLentines Day but because the story of Easter, the story we prepare ourselves for during Lent is the ULTIMATE love story. We love movies where someone sacrifices themselves for their love, lays down their life to help someone else. We also love movies where you think someone has died but in reality they come back to life. It is like the greatest romantic movie meets marvel. This is Easter. This is Lent. This was the longing of these women's hearts, including my own, to encounter a love that transforms, that heals, that sets the captives free, that calls us home.
The first thing Adam saw when he opened his eyes in Genesis was God's face--God had literally breathed into his nostrils to bring him to life. Then throughout the Old Testament we see a God coming near to God's people, creating a tabernacle then temple to be as close as God could. Then God comes as a baby, defeats sickness, fights for justice, defends the orphan, the widow, the women and children, bringing heaven to earth, the Kingdom of God. Ultimately Jesus let himself be killed, the sacrificial lamb atoning for the sins of the world, so that now God can send God's presence to everyone everywhere with no walls separating God from God's people. Jesus breaths on his disciples just like God did in the garden, saying receive my Spirit. God can now dwell with God's people again.
This year I will be posting a 5 minute lent devotional every wednesday on the lead up to Easter at www.experiencegodproject.com. Head over there and sign up on the blog to receive the emails every week. My master's thesis was on Liberation Theology and the theme of my lent devotionals is Solidarity, Resistance and Liberation. I think Jesus was the ultimate Liberation Theologian, coming in solidarity with the poor and oppressed, resisting the powers that be whether it was the ruling elite or the powers of evil and bringing about liberation not just for eternity but for here and now.
Ali Millikan, Author
I love Father, Jesus Christ and Holy Spirit. I love my husband and kids. I believe that God is in the room with us; that hearing God's voice is for everyone and that it will change your day to day reality.