March 3, 2017
I look for something important to come from these 40 days of Lent. I’m not sure exactly what it will be. I will likely be surprised. Lent is not only about the individual but also about the congregation. It’s not about self- improvement or better programs. It goes deeper than that. It’s about faith and following and being met by a grace that lifts us up again and again. It is a season meant to reach into our real struggles so we can regain balance. Where the love of Christ resets us, renews us and steadies us. Here we discover our true vitality, the source of mercy and the character of community where forgiveness is known.
Lent has always been that time when the church goes deeper into soils rich with promise. Lent gives us permission to be honest about real human need. And there we see the mystery of God’s self- giving ways still at work. Faith centers our lives. We gain our footing through the practices of that faith where worship takes hold. There we remember what we might easily forget. There we are strengthened and filled up. There we are named again and again – “children of God.”
While it may seem that the 40 days in wilderness would be a time to easily get lost, it became the place where Jesus gained his bearings for all the work yet to be done. The same Spirit, present in his baptism where he was named God’s “beloved,” led him into the wilderness. The wilderness and it’s testing, became the place of accompaniment, vision, resolve, and resiliency. By this we know Jesus went before us so that faith can keep finding us wherever our wilderness may be.
Eternal Lord of love, behold your church
walking once more the pilgrim way of Lent,
led by your cloud by day, by night your fire,
moved by your love and toward your presence bent;
far off yet here – the goal of all desire.
- ELW 321