This is the day we begin Lent. The annual pilgrimage toward Easter is usually filled with a lot of talk about mortality, repentance, and how much we need Jesus. This year, talk about mortality seems overwhelming for we are living in a world filled with the reality of our mortality. No matter how hard we try to avoid it, the pandemic numbers pervade our world.
Repentance, however, is something we can talk about, especially when we consider that it means turning toward God. During Lent, we turn away from that which separates us from God, and we turn toward God. We repent because we need Jesus.
My challenge for you this Lent is to examine your lives looking for the places you need Jesus. Where do you need love? Where do you need forgiveness? Where are you broken and in need of wholeness? How does drawing closer to Jesus help you? How will you seek wholeness through Jesus this Lent?
I also challenge you to name the brokenness in the world that needs the love and grace of God to repair it. This brokenness is often found in the headlines on the news, but it is also found in the stories we hide in the shadows. Mental illness, discrimination, abuse, addiction, isolation, human trafficking, and hearts closed to the wounds of others are but a few shards of brokenness in our world.
As you reflect on the brokenness, don’t lose heart, for the journey toward Easter is a journey toward the promise of wholeness. It is a story of hope. Wholeness is offered to us through the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus. No matter how many times we have strayed from the path of wholeness, we are again invited to follow Jesus on this journey. Jesus wants us to find wholeness. There’s more good news: We don’t have to wait to be whole to help the world. As broken as we are, we are still invited to join Jesus’ mission to bring wholeness to our world. How will you help bring wholeness to others this Lent?
I am glad to be on this journey of Lent with you. It is a joy to be one of your pastors.