So we’re about to enter into the season of Lent, and with it comes this reflection and introspection that we feel is almost mandatory. Don’t get me wrong, I think it is important that we do take the time to reflect throughout Lent, and we try the spiritual disciplines of fasting and all that, but what I don’t like is how everyone seems to make it all a bad thing. Almost like we’re supposed to be riddled with guilt throughout this season, and so we’ll be in the right frame of mind for when Easter comes.
The thing is, I don’t think that is the case. I don’t think Lent is about guilt, but it is about hope. It’s not about looking at ourselves and seeing how imperfect and unrighteous we are, but it is about looking at Jesus and seeing how he has made it possible for us to know God’s love and grace. I don’t the whole fasting thing is about us giving something up because we don’t deserve it, but actually giving more to God because God deserves it.
With this in mind, let’s look at the texts for the 1st Sunday in Lent:
Genesis 2:15-17, 3:1-7
With all this talk about sin on the first Sunday of the season, it’s hard not to think that Lent is about guilt. But I think this is more than just the guilt that we may or may not feel in sin, but it is about who frees us from that guilt, who frees us from ourselves being unable to do anything but sin, who frees us from where we find ourselves as a results.
Of course, I mean Jesus.
It is Jesus who defeats sin. It is Jesus who alleviates the guilt. It is Jesus who sets us free.
In Jesus, we can see that although we are sinners we are loved by God. We see that although we can never live up to the name of Jesus, God will still regard us as though we were. We see that it might be futile for us to try and be just like Jesus, but God will treat us as Jesus, as God’s own child, beloved and with whom God is well pleased.
Lent is not a season of commands and laws, but rather a season of promise and hope. One that leads us to the story of Easter where we can see the culmination of God’s redeeming love. I look forward to Lent, knowing what comes after it, and being prepared to see more fully God in our world, loving us with grace and mercy.
Have a great week, everyone!