The title of this week’s Puzzler’s Corner comes from a song I learned in Elementary School, back when we sang Christian songs and there were music classes. The verses of this song capture what these 6 ½ weeks of our Christian year are all about. Like Jesus, we must spend time in a valley of solemn reflection. Our United Methodist tradition offers us a variety of ways to journey through the season of Lent.
We may choose to give up something; usually a habit which is detrimental to our bodies and souls. We may also be encouraged to take something on, a mission or ministry that will make a difference in our lives and the lives of those we are called to serve. Some do a Daniel fast, following ancient dietary restrictions for the entirety of Lent. Others engage in greater individual and community devotional time.
There are also films produced to share this wondrous story of Jesus’ mission with us. Ben-Hur, The Greatest Story Ever Told, Jesus of Nazareth, and The Passion of Christ are among them. Godspell and Jesus Christ Superstar were 70s Broadway musicals that are experiencing revivals across the nation.
And of course, there are the Four Gospels. Each one offers us a different understanding of Jesus’ life, mission, ministry, sacrifice and resurrection. We learn from the authors of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John how transformative His time on earth was, how significant His salvific acts are and how much our lives are still being shaped by the promise of His return.
The Lenten Season is a time for us to reflect upon what Jesus has done, is doing and will do for our salvation. We may wrestle with why Jesus had to take the path He did, remembering the prayer He lifted up in the Garden of Gethsemane (Matthew 26, Mark 14, Luke 22). As Christians, we are called to walk through this valley with Jesus now, even though we know Easter is coming. Please know that Jesus’ story is part of our story of faith. Please share what you are doing during these 46 days (40 days if you don’t include Sundays) with one another as we remember and celebrate the love of our Lord and Savior. And Amen.