Some Reflections On Lent
Lent a season that we turn back to God through prayer, fasting, good deeds, renouncing certain things, contemplate our spiritual journeys, where we have fallen short, and where we want to go in the future. This season can be transformative and life enhancing if we let it, if we engage this season with our heart, mind, and soul, our life will increase and the spirit of the Lord will hover over our lives.
In this season, we have a choice to make will we put God first or will we live as if we were God. One will lead to life, the other death.
In Luke 5 Jesus calls Peter to leave and follow him. Peter’s response is often our own. On his knees, Peter said, “Go away from me, Lord; I am a sinful man!” I may not tell God to go away, but if I’m honest, I will say that I am sinful, that all too often fall short of my fullness and need help. I need a savior. If I concentrate on my sinfulness over God’s goodness and judge myself as unable to be an agent of God’s love and grace, I won’t be able to even do the little I can. I will be frozen in my steps pitying myself. Yet, if I focus on God’s goodness not to deny my sin, but to let God’s love and grace guide my life than I will be able to live towards God’s plan for my life.
The purpose of our life is not to wallow in our sin, but extend God’s unlimited and unconditional love and grace to everyone.
When life is easier and less burdensome, when we are more aware of people than things, and when we are more prayerful, loving, and hopeful and less engrossed in our shortcomings than we are more in touch with God’s goodness. It is God’s goodness and not our performance that is the mind and heart of the Kingdom.
Two dates we have no choice in are our birth and death. I have no power over either one. I can only influence what the line between means. God values how we spend our life wants us to live a good life. He wants us to live by grace, to Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you. Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful. (Luke 6) We should live our lives in such a way that we reflect Jesus and when our last day comes those who remain will be both saddened and joyful for our departure. This life is not always joyful and some events are not happy. Bad things happen to each of us—we lose our jobs, fail classes, lose a friend or relative to death or stupid choices we or they make, we get hurt, our develop an illness, conflict arises. Many things befall both good, bad, and sometimes between the two. It is not what happens to us, but how we deal with what happens. How we live our life between the two dates that will matter the most. Being a Christian doesn’t make us immune to the bad stuff, but it does help us cope with it.
To live as reflection of Jesus is to love and serve others, to follow Jesus in all things, and to point to Jesus and not to ourselves. As Jesus said in Luke 9, “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me. For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will save it. What good is it for someone to gain the whole world, and yet lose or forfeit their very self?” God is too often wrongly seen as most pleased when we are giving ourselves a hard time, measuring our progress on how well we endure suffering, and policing others.
Jesus doesn’t want this; he wants us to remove those things that get in our way of living life to the full, of being agents of the Kingdom for the glory of God. We should look at and spend more time with things in our life that help us appreciate God’s creation. Yet, just doing these things are not enough, a good step in the right direction. We also need to stand up against injustice, world hunger, homelessness, violence, the suffering poor, and caring for the environment.
I don’t like the word sin. It’s not fun to think about let alone talk about or even consider. I’d rather talk about the love and grace of God than about my own sin. Sin is something we reflect on during Lent for a reason, by reflecting on sin we can be more aware of our sin and make steps in not sinning. Sometimes, it’s enough to see where we fall short and other times we need to do more. The bad news is no one is without sin; the good news is I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance. (Luke 5) We can repent of our old ways and step towards our new life.
I hope these reflections on Lent have helped and you will spend some time reflecting on your faith, the ways you have fallen short, and the amazing grace offered by God through Jesus Christ. May this Lent bring you closer to God and living a more Christ-like life.
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