Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Praised be God! Another Lent!

There is a certain joy in recollection, in fasting, in abstaining from the pleasures we are comforted by. In the quiet of prayer, we are able to focus upon Christ and His wonderful love for us. It is a deep, abiding, penetrating love, a love that delights in our attention and relentlessly pursues us in our distraction. His love is overwhelming and a little puzzling at times. How could someone so perfect, so holy, so wonderful, be completely in love with me? Yet He is...with all of us.

It reminds me about a recent conversation with a coworker of mine. She had just finished reading the Old Testament, and I had just finished my second semester of Old Testament studies. We got into a discussion about God and His unbelievable patience. She and I both have a number of children, so we were inclined to identify with God on a parental level. It became very clear to both of us that God’s number of “second chances” were astonishing. She commented that God’s habit of giving them chance after chance to come back to Him almost exasperated her. She said that as a mother, her attitude with her children after this much defiance would be, “okay, buddy, you are outta here!”

Many people believe that the Old Testament is “God in a bad mood,” but I have to challenge anyone who holds this opinion to actually READ the scriptures. God walks with Adam before the fall, and he continues to communicate with them and insert Himself into their daily lives throughout the Old Testament. And then, He does the unthinkable...sending His Son incarnate to instruct us, die for us and rise to give us hope in God's plan for our everlasting union with Him. As my Ecclesiology professor, Douglas Bushman, would say, “do you get the feeling that God is more than a little OBSESSED with us?!”

When this realization of such profound love finally captures our minds and hearts through grace, we experience an urge to reciprocate this love with complete devotion, and desire to participate in our Beloved’s activities. We are suddenly confronted with the reality that this participation might involve a little more than we bargained for. We will suffer, and the deeper our love grows, the more we will suffer because Christ's sufferings were, well, incomprehensible. In Lent, we recollect that we unite our sacrifices and daily sufferings to Christ who gave His life for us, and in so doing, we are given the unbelievable gift of participating in His redemptive suffering. I just can’t get over that! It’s truly amazing!

May our sufferings become precious gifts to our Lord this Lent!

No comments:

Post a Comment