Today begins our Lenten journey of 2021. This year the time we spend in the valley which signifies this part of our Savior’s journey seems an extension of how we have spent most of the last year. And yet, these next 40 days (46 if we include Sundays) are set aside for us to reflect on the ways Jesus transformed the world.
Our Savior healed broken bodies, spirits, and minds. Jesus fed thousands with just a few loaves and fish. He chose those who were on the margins of his world to be His disciples and become the center of the new way people were to relate with one another and with our Creator. Jesus spoke with women as if they were his sisters and not strangers. From an early age, Jesus brought new life to the ancient words of Scripture, discussing their meaning with the priests and scribes in the Synagogue.
Jesus was a dinner guest at some of the best homes in Israel. He also broke bread with people who were sinners, knowing that to do so would make him unclean in the eyes of those who watched. Jesus challenged the status quo, reminding everyone that we are welcome in the Lord’s embrace. He journeyed from Jerusalem to Samaria, and from Galilee to Judea. He was a passenger in a boat, on calm and torrential seas. Sometimes crowds pressed around him as he walked. There were times when Jesus went to be by himself to pray and speak with our Lord.
Jesus did all of these things for our sakes. Our Savior wanted everyone to know that the words of our God were being written upon our hearts. We received new commandments for a new age: to love the Lord our God with all our hearts, all our souls and all our minds. We are to love our neighbor as ourselves.
Jesus didn’t stop there. He brought new life to the words of our Holy Bible. And our Savior sent the disciples and 70 others into the world, to go before Him and bring the good news to every town he was about to enter. Jesus also gave us the Great Commission to continue His work for the redemption and salvation of the world.
During this season of Lent, we have time to consider how we have been able to continue our Savior’s work for the world. Have we brought healing to some? Have we shared the Good News of Christ? Do we view the stranger among us as if they were a relative? Have we eaten with people who are blessed and those who hunger and thirst to be heard and seen? Are we seeking to be like Jesus so that others come to understand the depth and breadth of the love He has for us and the love we have for one another?
I hope that we can respond with a resounding yes to these questions. I invite each of us to look inward during this season of Lent, seriously reflecting on how we are growing in our faith. During the season of Lent, I take time to begin a new mission or ministry, asking myself what more can I do in the name of the one who did so much for all of us? May God be with us as we seek to become more holy in the days to come. And Amen.