In worship this week, we proclaimed the good news that in Jesus, the realm of the heavens has arrived as a gift of God’s mercy, inviting us into the life that is truly life. This is the context for the Lenten call to confess and repent and pray and fast. It’s part of how we learn to receive the life God shares with us. It’s part of the grace that Lent offers us.
Lent isn’t about shoring up our personal piety, or punishing ourselves, or proving to God that we know how bad we are. Lent is a time to tell the truth about ourselves and the world, to get in touch the brokenness in us and around us. Lent is a time to embrace the cleansing fire of God’s love to burn away everything in us that opposes God’s desire for all the flourish.
Lent is a time to get rid of a few layers of the padding we’ve built up that insulates from awareness of God’s presence and word in our lives. It’s a time to pay attention to the ways we’ve held God at arm’s length, and unlocking our elbow just a bit, allowing God to lead us deeper into solidarity with the suffering.
Because the way up is the way down. Dallas Willard once said, “Jesus didn’t die on the cross so we wouldn’t have to, he died on the cross so we could join him there.” And surprisingly, we find that as we walk the way of the cross, we find it none other than the way of life and peace.
So let me encourage you this Lent to embrace a discipline of prayer, fasting, and almsgiving as a way to come into closer contact with the brokenness of the world and the presence of God.
And let me encourage you to come and worship on Sundays. Our liturgy is a weekly act of resistance against the power of Mammon that tells us it’s a waste of time and money. We tell the truth about brokenness: our own and the world’s, hear again and respond to the good news of the gospel, and receive grace in the Body and Blood of Jesus. Worship transforms us as we give ourselves over to it.
Let’s embrace the grace this season offers us.
Grace and peace,