Monday, February 27, 2006
Thorns & Thistles
Thorns and thistles in the original Curse on sin (Gen 3:17 -24) are a symbolic reminder of the things that choke out fruit in our lives. The things that wound instead of nourish. Wicked men are pictured as thorns (Judges 2:1 -3). Men whose fruit is pain.
Lent begins on Wednesday, a time when many Christians prepare to celebrate Christ's victory over sin and death, by reflecting on our own sins which pierced Him. We have been the thorns in His crown. But it is not a time of mere remorse. It is time to weed.
The fasting aspect of Lent is designed not merely to allow us to beat our breasts over our failings, wounding our sinful habits. It is intended to provide a power-surge that will allow us to root them out altogether. Lent is when we can collectively get serious about killing off the sins that hold us back.
Our homeschool day begins with a worship time and Bible discussion. On Ash Wednesday (or as soon thereafter as possible), we prune our rosebushes and bring in bouquets of thorns. As we decorate the house with these sharp reminders of our sin, we ask God what chokes our growth, what starves our fruit. And we ask Him to show us what He would be pleased to help us to root out now. And then we ask each other to help us to discipline ourselves to mortify those things - not to offend or wound them, but to cut them off entirely.
On Good Friday, we hold a bonfire. As we lay the thorns to the flame, we remember that God's firey wrath was poured out on Christ to consume our sins. And we rely in faith on Christ's finished work for assurance that we need never be choked by those sins again.