A week ago, we had a group of college students to our home. All told, we were expecting to have about twenty people over for dinner, and I spent most of the day last Friday preparing for their arrival. I straightened the house, prepped the food, swiped down the tables, picked up the toys, and put laundry away (in the spirit of truth-telling, I should tell you that I also hid some laundry in the dryer). It took a lot of time to get ready for the group coming over, but I wanted our home to be inviting and welcoming for them, and I wanted everyone to know there was a place for them at our table.
Everything went well. Dinner was a lot of fun; the students were loved and well-fed, and I don’t think anyone opened the dryer. Win-win!
As I have been thinking about Lent this week, I have been struck with the reality of my own preparations. Lent is such a season, similar in its focus to Advent—in both, we prepare our hearts for the King. During Advent, we are preparing for a joyful celebration. During Lent, we are preparing for the mournful reality of the cross, followed by the swift surprise of Easter. But in both seasons, Christians are historically the people who prepare.
I willingly spent hours last week preparing for people to come into my home and share a meal with me. I wanted them to have a good experience, and I wanted my home to look nice and have the appearance of cleanliness, even if there were rumpled clothes in the dryer.
Have I willingly spent hours this past week preparing for the King?
Have I been as concerned about the state of my heart, making room for him to come and eat with me (Revelation 3:20)? Have I been as concerned about the state of my mind, washing it clean in his Word?
Or have I been ok with the appearance of godliness (2 Timothy 3:5) in my life without the substance of it? Am I ok with rumpled spirituality that looks good but isn’t actually aflame with the love of God?
I want to be a woman who is more concerned with the state of my relationship with God than with the state of my house. I want to spend more time preparing my heart and mind for Jesus than I do preparing my hair in the morning or my house for a party. I want my preparations in this life to matter, because Jesus is clear when he tells his disciples that “Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away” (Matthew 24:35). My house and all that is in it will pass away.
But his words remain forever. And so today, I remember the words of the prophet Isaiah, echoed in the book of Mark:
“Prepare the way of the Lord, make his paths straight” (Mark 1:3).
Today, I am seeking to prepare my own soul for him.
*Perhaps this song will be my anthem during Lent. It’s one of my favorites from Cademon’s Call.