But when he was 31, something changed dramatically for him, and in answer to his mother’s prayer, he converted. He became a Christian, and eventually a Bishop of the church. He experienced God’s radical renovation of his life. In his famous “Confessions” he wrote of his conversion:
The house of my soul is too small for you to enter: make it more spacious by your coming. It lies in ruins: rebuild it. Some things are to be found there which will offend your gaze; I confess this to be so and know it well. But who will clean my house? To whom but yourself can I cry? (The Confessions; page 6)
He knew what a wreck he had made of his life, and he knew the only one who could come in and rebuild his life into a reflection of love and grace was the God of love and grace, known in Jesus Christ.
I am particularly struck by St. Augustine’s invitation to God to come and make his soul more spacious. Our busyness, our worry, our misguided focus, our destructive habits – they all shrink the house of our soul. And eventually these distractions shrink the house of our soul so much that there seems to be no room left for God. We don’t have time for prayer. We fail to make space for Bible reading. We can’t seem to get up and go to worship. We stop seeing the world through God’s eyes. Situations and relationships seem to be crumbling around us. What we are building our lives on seems shaky at best. And our lives lie in some form of ruin.
How small is the house for your soul? What part of your life lies in ruins? What radical renovation is God wanting to accomplish in you?
I invite you to journey with me in this season of Lent on Sunday mornings as we explore the radical renovation God wants to do in us, inviting God to come into our soul and make it more spacious, asking God to help take the ruins of our life and rebuild them into something sturdy and useful. I invite you to join me as we seek to Build the Cross-Shaped Life through the radical renovation God wants to accomplish in us.
Journeying with you this Lent,
Pastor Becky Jo Messenbrink