Selah…and Lent!

Melissa Jurik   -  

Here we are – it’s the end of February in Ontario Canada.
I’m writing this today looking out into a backyard blanketed in deep, deep snow. The app on my phone tells me that despite the bright sunshine,
it is -12 degrees Celsius out there.
The temperature explains my frigid barefeet, tucked underneath my chair. I really should put on some socks.
Today, it is all over the news that
Russia is invading Ukraine.
That while the Emergencies Act in Canada is being revoked, our beloved peaceful nation is more divided then ever.
That while some countries, like Britain, are completely open there are others,
like Hong Kong, who are still suffering under the weight of a seemingly unending pandemic.

And all I can think is,
I need a break.
I need a selah.
Selah is a Hebrew word that we find in the Bible, often occurring between verses or paragraphs in the Psalms.
It indicates a “pause for contemplation”.
But one of the definitions I found says that Selah “calls for a break” in the singing of the Psalm.
And I love that.
I’m calling for a break too.

Over the past few weeks we’ve been wrestling with finding breakthrough in our lives – how to get unstuck through the hardwork of looking at our past, recognizing the lies we’ve been believing and the wounds we’ve endured that are hindering our call to live in freedom.
Its good work, but it isn’t fun.
Its been heavy and tough and freeing all at the same time.
So I’m calling for a break. Want to join me?

Over these next two days we are going to pause for contemplation.
We’ll take a break  to revel in the promise and presence of our God.
And then on Wednesday, Ash Wednesday, we will begin the season of Lent.
For those of you who have never participated in a Lenten season before, it is the 40-day period leading up to Easter weekend.
Each year Christians around the world prepare their hearts and minds for the absolute glory and celebration of Jesus’ death and resurrection by meditating daily on the story and sacrifice of His last days walking the earth. Each day, we’ll have a passage of scripture and a meditation for you – and though our staff won’t be the authors, we’ll be following along with you as well.

So with all that,

Day 1: Forgiveness & Grace
Read: Mark 14:66-72 and John 21:15-17

The passages I asked you to read today may be familiar to you. Perhaps you are well-acquainted with Peter’s 3-time denial of Jesus – I mean, all 4 gospel writers made sure to point it out, even though the whole night was full of crazy stuff.
(I think its only fair to mention that at least Peter was in the vicinity of Jesus that night…where was everyone else? Huh?!?!)
But Peter’s denial isn’t where I’d like us to pause. We all know and empathize with Peter’s fear and insecurity and disloyalty.
Instead, lets selah at the passage you read in the book of John, titled “Jesus Reinstates Peter”.
Because I think that’s the wrong title for this section.
It should be called “Jesus forgives Peter”.
And even as I write this I can’t help but feel overcome with emotion. Have a look at how Jesus offered forgiveness and grace to Peter.
Jesus didn’t make him beg, or grovel or explain. He didn’t talk about it to the other disciples, and “vent” his frustrations over Peter’s lack of loyalty.
He didn’t ignore the hurt He felt by Peter’s denial and pretend everything was ok and not address what happened.
Instead, Jesus asked 3 times if Peter loved Him.
3 times.
Each time offering Peter the chance to affirm His love and devotion where he had once denied it.
Each time, calling Peter by name, giving him the opportunity to make something right without having to relive every detail of the night he was most ashamed of.
Each time Jesus graciously gave Peter the benefit of the doubt, showing him understanding and love and grace and forgiveness and ultimately giving Peter a calling on his life.
This is our God, friends. Can you believe it?
This is what grace and forgiveness is – and we get to experience it and pass it on.

Some questions to reflect on:

  1. How have I experienced God’s forgiveness and grace in my life? Make a list of the ways you’ve experienced this and thank God for this precious, freeing gift.
  2. How can I give forgiveness and grace to others?
    Is there anyone you are having trouble forgiving? What do you feel the Spirit prompting you to do in light of what we read today?

Day 2: Healing & Help
Read: Mark 5: 21-43, Mark 8:22-26

Part of getting unstuck in our lives involves receiving healing for what is sick and broken – whether it is physical, emotional, relational or spiritual. And while a lot of this work is miraculous, unseen, divine even – there is most certainly an active role for us to play in this.
If there is need for physical healing then we often need to rest, take medicine, exercise or rehabilitate.
If the need is emotional we often need to talk, and process and articulate and grieve.
If there is relational healing needed then there are conversations, and concessions, and reconciliation and grace actively given.

In our reading today we see that thought Jesus was always the healer, there were lots of other things happening at the same time too.
In the case of the Jairus’ little girl, all of the activity was on part of Jairus and his friends. Jairus came to Jesus, so did his friends.
The little girl did nothing but receive Jesus’ healing words and rise when she was told to.
Sometimes we just need to receive.
What do you need to receive? 

In the case of the woman who had bled for years, it was her grasp of Jesus’ robe and her faith that just a touch would be enough that brought about her healing. Sometimes we have to seek out the healing and help we need.
Are you seeking healing and help in the right places? 
And in the case of the blind man, we see that there is the possibility of partial healing. And that is no less miraculous.
What miracles are you missing? 

Some questions to reflect on:

  1. How have I experienced God’s healing and help in my life already? Has it been physical? Emotional? Relational? Has it been complete or still only in part?
    Take some time to pray and talk to God. Praise Him for what He’s done, and ask Him for what you still need.
  2. How can I be an agent of healing and help to those around me? Who do I know that needs a touch from Jesus?
    Talk to Him about what role He is calling you to play in someone’s life.