We are now halfway into the season of Lent. Lent is often referred to as a time of repentance, introspection, fasting, and self-sacrifice. While all these things are good descriptions of how we celebrate Lent, the true meaning of Lent is centered around preparing ourselves to experience the Easter miracle anew in our lives (both personally and as a community). We often focus on getting reconnected or reacquainted with God during this time. Choosing to give up something in order to make us less attached to this earthly life and more looking forward to what is to come. The writer of Hebrews puts it this way.
Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight and the sin that clings so closely, and let us run with perseverance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus the pioneer and perfecter of our faith, who for the sake of the joy that was set before him endured the cross, disregarding its shame, and has taken his seat at the right hand of the throne of God. (Hebrews 12:1-2)
I like this analogy, not just because it uses an ancient sports reference, but more because it illustrates the importance of focusing our lives, values, vision, choices, attitudes – our everything – on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of our faith. Those are two amazing descriptions of our faith. Jesus (not us) is the source of our faith. He is the own who creates our faith. Jesus is also the one who makes our faith perfect or complete. Often people wonder if their faith is good enough to follow Jesus. The question is a deep one that hints at the inadequacy that most of us feel. But if we take these verses to heart, the answer is a resounding yes. We can exhale that deep breath we have been holding in because Jesus is the one who will make our faith strong not us.
It seems to me that this is an excellent way to celebrate Lent. Each day taking time to stop thinking about ourselves -our problems, anxieties, troubles, goals, burdens, and tasks – and instead set our eyes upon Jesus. Look, see, inquire; “How is Jesus being glorified in the circumstances around you?” How is Jesus moving to touch the life of someone you know? Who do you know who needs to meet Jesus? How is Jesus cheering you on? What words do you hear from Jesus (through prayer, scripture, other Christians etc..) that seem specifically targeted to you? Then simply follow your heart and respond to what you see or hear. The hardest part of this really just simply taking our eyes off ourselves for a moment so that we can actually see and notice Jesus in our lives.
Alpine is a great place to encounter the risen Christ. Come and join us throughout the week as we endeavor – together as a community – to prepare ourselves to experience the Easter miracle anew.
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