For he says, “At an acceptable time I have listened to you, and on a day of salvation I have helped you.” See, now is the acceptable time; see, now is the day of salvation!
– 2 Corinthians 6:2
The season of Lent, the period of 40 days leading through Holy Week and into Easter, is a time of self-reflection and examination. It is a time where we, collectively with the whole church, focus on the nature of our faith, what binds us together and keeps us steadfast in God’s Word. Namely, it is a time where we refocus and re-examine the ways in which Jesus the Christ saves us, leads us, and guides always along the path that God prepares for us.
However, it seems that we can reflect in this way at any time of the year. Why do need a specific season to think about this? Isn’t the nature of our faith worthy of reflection all 365 days of the year? Well, yes. However, these specific 40 days mark a time where we embody the duality of Jesus’ death and resurrection. Lent begins on Ash Wednesday with a proclamation: “Remember you are dust, and to dust you shall return.” We were formed from the dust of this earth, and each of us will die and return to that same dust. However, on the same day we are reminded that we are dust, we hear Paul’s words to the Corinthians that “Now is the acceptable time, now is the day of salvation!”
Yes, Lent is a time where we embody the “both-and” nature of faith. We proclaim the mystery of the Resurrection of the Christ in a world where death is a reality for each and every one of us. In our reflections and examinations, we are reminded of the paradoxical nature of our faith: it is in the death of Jesus the Messiah that we are reborn. And, in remembering this, we are also reminded of our baptismal promises; we daily die to our old selves and are reborn according to the Holy Spirit so that we might better love and serve God and our neighbors.
Though it tends to be one of the more somber periods of the church year, I find Lent to be an excellent opportunity to return to the core of our faith, namely, the mystery and promise of death and resurrection. I am reminded of a verse from Marty Haugen’s hymn Tree of Life and Awesome Mystery wherein he sums up the spirit of the season perfectly:
“We remember truth once spoken,
love passed on through act and word.
Every person lost and broken,
wears the body of our Lord.”
During these 40 days, we remember the truth of Christ’s resurrection. And we experience this resurrection through the acts and words of our brothers and sisters in Christ. And, we also recognize that we find Christ in the lost and broken bodies that populate this world. Christ does not dwell in some “out there” space. Christ dwells in the lost and broken bodies of the people who live across the world, down the street, next door, and next to us in the pews on Sunday.
As we embark on this journey of reflection and examination, may the process turn us again the mystery of Salvation. Even as we journey to the cross, might we also embody the truth of the resurrection, the promise of what is to come, that we might be set free and enabled to better love one another.
We are a family-oriented congregation of faith. Through a mix of contemporary and traditional music, visual media and practical messages, we present the ageless truths of the Bible in a format that’s easy to understand. Regardless of where you are on your faith journey — whether you are seeking answers about or from God, or you are committed to Christ and seek an even deeper faith in His will — our hearts are open.
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