"This tastes like death."
It's a phrase I've said on occasion. I reserve it for especially disgusting foods that I end up putting in my mouth and instantly regretting. I don't actually know what death tastes like, because that's gross.
I do know what it smells like. I grew up in the country, and I was around death a lot. Be it dogs, cats, cows, deer, skunks, raccoons, or some other animal, I dealt with death all the time growing up. Sometimes I would come across dead animals, and sometimes I would have the unfortunate job of putting one down that was past the point of healing.
Death has a very pungent odor. It's hard to explain, but you know it when you smell it. We've probably all experienced this when, say, we catch a mouse in a trap and don't realize it for a few days. The smell creeps into the air, a hint at first. You try to ignore it but it's persistent. Eventually, it's so strong that you have no choice but to hunt down the source and remove it.
When I was a camp counselor, I led a lot of campfires. We sang a lot of silly songs with the kids, and a lot of serious songs. One of my favorites (and one that gets stuck in my head for days on end) is "Cast your burdens." The lyrics are as follows:
Cast your burdens, unto Jesus, because he cares for you. Higher, higher, higher, lift Jesus higher. Lower, lower, lower, stomp Satan lower.
These are the only words that the song has. Of course, different parts get repeated a lot, but as you can see the song is quite simple. But think about the theological implications of this song.
I've always wondered what I would do if I was suddenly blessed with a million dollar inheritance. I've made many a list that broke down how this money would be spent. It was always a nice daydream, and it was interesting to see how the allocation of these imaginary funds tended to change over the years.
I used to play Monopoly with my cousins as well. Our marathon games would stretch until three in the morning at times, and I was always looking for a way to get "the edge" in the game. Anything that gave me something for free without risking much, and the inheritance community card was always a pleasant card to draw.
Alas, as far as I know, I don't have an influx of inheritance money coming my way. And life doesn't have "community cards" from which to draw a lucky card. But I do have something that is better any amounty of money.
I have the Kingdom of Heaven; the presence of God.
I have one brother. He is four years younger than me, which made things difficult at times when we were growing up. You see, when I was a freshman in high school, he was still in middle school. When he was a freshman in high school, I was a senior getting ready to go off to college. We were never really in a simliar life stage, and we were always at different levels of maturity. This led to some pretty big fights.
As one can imagine, I have not liked my brother every moment of my existence. There have been times where he has been able to get under my skin and drive me to the brink of sanity. I'm sure I have done the same to him from time to time as well. There was, of course, a time where I was excited to have a brother. When my parents told me I was going to be a big brother, I was very happy about the prospect. They even let me name him.
"What do you want to name the baby?," they asked. "Jason," I said. "What if it's a girl?," they questioned. To which, in my infinite four year old wisdom, I replied, "God wouldn't make a mistake like that."
But despite the ups and downs of our relationship, my brother and I are at a point where we get along quite well. He has grown a lot (as have I) and we are both in places during our lives where we are looking to the future and making plans. It's exciting. But through every up and down, one thing remains.
I have always loved my brother.
I don't want to do this anymore. My life is busy. Why in the world did I think that reading a chapter of Hebrews every day, and writing on it, was a good idea? It's starting to feel like a chore. It's stressing me out.
And I know what you're thinking.
"If it's so difficult, then stop." "If it's not enriching you anymore, and if you don't feel like you can rest in the Scripture, then it's no longer healthy." "You don't have to do anything for Lent, you know." "Jesus still loves if you if you don't read the Bible every day."
Or perhaps that's what I'm thinking. There are a million reasons that I can come up with to throw in the towel on this 40 day journey that I have embarked on. Most people would understand. I'm not sure anyone is really reading this anyway. What would the harm be? Is it even worth it?
If I'm honest with myself: yes, it is worth it.