It is finally here… the season we have all be waiting for – Lent! In just a few short days we will smear our foreheads with ashes, be reminded of our mortality and our sinfulness and embark on our annual pilgrimage through the wilderness of our lives intent on discovering anew a resurrection of faith, purpose, and hope. Some people wonder why we need to “celebrate” Lent at all. Are we not already an Easter people who live with the hope of resurrection and the joy of eternity? Why must we spend so much time
“reflecting” in humility and penitence when Jesus came to bring light and life?
As Magrey deVega argues in his Lenten study “Embracing the Uncertain”, as Christians, we tend to gravitate more toward being Advent followers of Jesus. We appreciate times of hopeful expectation and the certainty of God’s love as we gladly rejoice in all that God does for us while conveniently ignoring all that we might do for God in the name of Christ. We celebrate with enthusiasm the Advent of Christ, but we are not so keen to embrace our need to be crucified with him.
Lent is hard because it reminds us of the complexities and precariousness of our existence. As we wrestle with our doubts, fears, shortcomings, and questions, we are made painfully aware of hurts and failures, and we are forced to deal with the uncertainty in our lives that we would prefer to keep at bay. However, as deVega suggests, “Lent is an invitation for us to engage life’s uncertainties, not ignore them.” Only by being willing to embrace the uncertain can we fully acknowledge the power of the Resurrection that we desperately long for in our lives.
The good news is that we are not alone in this journey. We do not have to figure everything out on our own. The questions we ask, the doubts and fears we share, these are not new to God nor God’s people. Scripture is replete with examples of men and women who have all had to face uncertain times and circumstances. These are people who upon embracing the uncertain were able to experience the power of God’s redeeming and restoring love with certainty as never before. Their lives remind us of a world filled with uncertainty even as their example would show us how to follow Jesus all the way to the cross and beyond the grave with courage, hope, and obedience.
So, this is what we will do together – we will embark on this 40-day journey of Lent through our Sunday worship, weekly Lenten study, and daily reflections. We will journey with our biblical companions, with each other and with the Holy Spirit every step of the way. We will embrace the uncertainty in our lives as we look deep within ourselves to determine what resides in the those “shadowy, untenable, and unreliable parts of our souls.” We will acknowledge, confess, and through the power of God’s grace, we will overcome these uncertainties (or at least learn to live with them in more helpful ways) and find our place and our purpose as an Easter people.
As I mentioned last month, Jesus is passionate about our hearts and about us doing the things that will lead to a more abundant life for all. In making our way to the cross during this Lenten season, my prayer is that we will not only have a Holy Lent but also a transformative one as we “Embrace the Uncertain” and lay claim to the resurrection power of Easter.
With you on the Journey,