So now we’re into the season of Lent, heading towards Easter. This could be the time to do something different and meaningful. The whole Lent/Easter period could be seen as a time of transformation. What starts off as a journey into oblivion ends in the greatest hope we could have. The 40 days in Lent give us the opportunity to follow Jesus on his journey to Jerusalem. If we’re brave, we too will be using this time to journey, to join the pilgrimage following where Jesus goes and relating his journey to ours. I suspect however that there may be a tendency to ignore it and turn the other way.
But to ignore this time of Lent is to miss an opportunity. For the journey I’m suggesting isn’t physical but internal, and it may not be easy. We may come across some barriers similar to those we encounter on physical journeys. There may be some diversion, we may get caught up in traffic, there’s always the possibility that a post may leap out and hit us (please see my car), we may even get caught up in the equivalent of snow or ice, slipping and sliding all over the place. We may not be able to get very far, we may get distracted; we may not want to undertake this journey at all for fear of where we may end up or what it may reveal. Sometimes it’s easier to turn the internal radio up to distract ourselves. However, this journey may be hard at times but ultimately it leads us to the cross and then to the empty tomb.
There are so many ways of taking physical journeys, some slower than others. For some of us, walking will give us the opportunity to stop and look at the scenery, for others the motorway will get us to where we’re going quickly. It’s up to us to choose our journey it’s a very personal pilgrimage and we must all travel in our own way.
Sometimes on a journey we need to change direction or return home because we’ve forgotten something vital and we may revisit things that we think we know only too well but returning to them we are surprised to notice something new. However we choose to travel, Lent gives us the time to become aware of the journey, the path we are treading and to think about why we are taking the journey in the first place.
Time to reflect and ask some searching questions. For instance: looking at Jesus we may ask ourselves what he would make of us – “What kind of person have I become?” “How would it be if he looked at us directly?” “Would he be smiling, troubled or confused?”
The gospels clearly show us Jesus reaching out to needy people who most certainly aren’t perfect and it’s for that reason he gave his life so that we may have ‘life in all its fullness’. We could also ask ourselves, “What do I really believe in and what difference does it make?” So often we just get on with life and don’t give ourselves time to think about what is really important. This could indeed be a time of transformation.
It is time to spring clean our lives and, as we do so, to remember that Passover, Good Friday and Easter Sunday so long ago, seeing clearly the depth of God’s love for us. My prayer at this time is that we will all hear his still small voice saying to us “Yes I know you’re not perfect but I love you and I give my life for you.” This is a time to leave those things that burden us behind so that we aren’t held back and hope can dawn anew. I suggest that we use this time wisely and reflect on what Lent and Easter mean to us personally and as a church. We don’t take this journey alone and I hope that you will join with us as we witness God working in the life of Jesus Christ this Eastertime.