Friday, February 23, 2007

Lent/Easter Letter to JUMC

Believe it or not, Lent is one of my favorite times of the year. That may sound a bit morbid, but the truth is that I look forward to Lent because I am without question the most self-centered sinner I have ever known.

During the course of the year, we are called by the Spirit of God to care for our souls, certainly, but to do so by reaching out, touching others with the love and grace of God in Jesus Christ. We care for our souls not only through prayer, Bible study, and worship (both private and public), but by caring for the poor, feeding the hungry, and sharing with others the story of Jesus.

But during Lent, we are called to look inward, through the lens of the Cross. It is a time for me to assess the state of my own spirit…where I’ve been, where I’m heading, where God wants me to be. It is a time when the Church has given me permission to think about me, and, being the self-centered sinner mentioned previously, that has a great appeal!

Unfortunately, each year as I look inward – again, through the lens of the Cross – I rediscover how much I truly fall short of God’s vision for me. I read and re-read the account of Jesus’ journey to Golgotha (powerfully told in Mark 15, which I urge you to read at least once during the Lenten season), and am reminded of the faithfulness and humility of our Lord. He was willing to do anything in order to show God’s love; he was even willing to suffer miserably, dying an excruciatingly painful death. Upon reflecting each Lent, I am faced with own sinful nature and the many ways in which I have failed Almighty God.

But, thankfully, God doesn’t leave me there! At the end of Lent, there is a “HALLELUJAH!” of the most powerful kind!

Just as the story of Jesus doesn’t end at Golgotha, but continues through the glories of Easter Sunday, my own story doesn’t end with failure! Through the Risen Jesus, God gives me new life, another chance, new empowerment, and a reminder of the blessed presence of the Holy Spirit! In spite of falling short, I can sing along with the popular Gaither song…

"Because he lives, I can face tomorrow!
Because he lives, all fear is gone!
Because I know he holds the future, life is worth the living -
just because he lives!"
Because Jesus lives, we all have another chance to more faithfully be the children of God! That is reason enough each year to sing “HALLELUJAH!” on Easter Sunday! May your Lent and Easter be blessed with peace, inspiration, and new possibilities!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Thanks for setting the tone with your thoughts on Lent. I agree it is a time when I feel I'm called to reflect and with grace move on. Grace and Peace, John