Today, we begin a Lenten Journey marked with the passport sign of the cross in black ash smudged on the forehead. In Lent, we are given forty or so mornings to rise with Christ in rehearsal of that Sunday morning Resurrection. We are given forty or so days to walk with Christ in the wilderness in rehearsal of turning his threefold temptation in the desert into a holy triad of God-surrender, saying: No, to self-security. No, to self-adoration. No, to self-power. We are given forty or so evenings to stay awake with prayer in rehearsal of Gethsemane tears and Golgotha terror.
Lent gives leverage for the undoing of our projects for self security, success and strength. Lent gives light for the mechanical ways we go through our days, unaware of the appetites that drive us. Lent gives opportunity to die to the power of personality that lives in us, yet also smothers the abundant life hidden with God in Christ. Lent, meaning spring, gives the promise of a different kind of life emerging beyond the senses which do not discern Spirit hovering above and beneath the depths of winter’s barren bleak waiting.
Meanwhile, everything is forgiven. As you journey locked up with Flesh and Spirit in struggle with this thing called “me,” bear in mind and heart the words, “it is finished.” Yes, we are still at it, but in Christ everything is perfectly forgiven and complete. And we are in Christ. Nonetheless, Jesus demonstrated the pathway for us to follow. This is why he taught that he was “the way.” The Jesus way is narrow, and in the narrows the pressure builds. But we are propelled by this pressure too: a high pressure system driven by the Spirit who groans with us in our gestation, and transformation and formation into Resurrected Ones who are also “participants of the divine nature” (2 Peter 1.4). Ready. Get set. Go. And keep at. We are on the Way.
In and through Christ we pray. Amen.
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