Updated: Feb 27
Dear Sisters and Brothers in Christ,
I pray that as we gather ourselves during this time of Lent in the mercy of God’s shining grace we can find some peace of the soul. We look to scripture as a guide together, and as always, the Word never fails. The Word is waiting for us!
The gospel of John is our gospel companion for most of this Season of Lent. We are focused on how Jesus is using words to share who he is, and who he is to God’s people. I encourage you to read John’s gospel in its entirety many times during your Lent reflections.
It occurs to me that Jesus not only offered to solve problems and heal people in this gospel, he shared who he was as an attempt to show what trust could be like in a relationship between God and the human community. Jesus, as the Divine human, offers his Divinity and his vulnerability to people. Did all the people to whom he revealed who he was honor this trust, or did they betray it? We know that answer is yes, and yes.
I think the spiritual matter of trust is something in precious scarcity between people in the days of our living, right now. As a culture and society do you observe that we are quick to blame, quick to judge negatively, quick to separate ourselves from those who are different than we are? Who is it that you trust in this life, right now?
Even as Jesus offered that he was Bread, Light, Truth, or Shepherd that people could see him and find God’s love, separate camps for comfort were popular; then and now, we like our borders and boundaries as though we do not trust our own instincts, relationships, and sometimes, our faith. Jesus was fully trustworthy, but hardly
trusted! Can we imitate him and be trustworthy, even if we are not completely trusted?
I know what it is like to keep company with those who think like me, look like me, behave like me, too. Over the years, I have learned through prayer and ministry practice, this is not the totality of the gospel message for it is not about affirming self, only. It is good to stand before God in our vulnerability and listen for what God needs from us;
and then respond to that call. But this spiritual truth means having trust in who God invites us to be for Him; and if you are human, you know that is a prayerful journey. Can we bring along years of “baggage”, or will it not be useful to God’s purposes? Are we still who we are if we have to do something different for God? Can we bring at least a tote bag full of our old “stuff”? Please and thank you! Can Lent be transforming and comforting at the same time?
As we look at scriptures we can find an anchor when it seems the sails of purpose are flapping in the wind; we can hear and see Jesus saying: “I AM...” for all God’s people. He is Light, Bread, the Way and Truth, a Gate and Shepherd, inviting all persons to his grace. “Lean on me”, he says, “come to me and I will give you the peace you seek if you share your burdens”. Once that grace is accepted, there is a path that leads to a present and future that is free from mistrust, and a willingness to offer the grace we have been given. In other words, we never stop growing in awareness and love, because of Jesus. We can leave behind the sins of the past because our truth is the trust of the gospel message of Christ Jesus.
This is the Lenten journey that can bring peace to the soul.
On Palm Sunday, we enter Jerusalem once again on a path paved with cloaks and branches, then leads to something quite apart from, “Hosanna!” Please know the God of all there is has a message for you! You are already forgiven by the One whose love is beyond all human understanding. Praise be to God!
With humble grace and peace,
Rev. Dr. Robin Blair