We just marked the beginning of Lent with a wonderful Ash Wednesday service at HERITAGE where I shared some thoughts about Lent from pastor Preston Yancey.
Lent, Yancey says, is a once-a-year chance for us to enter into the posture of a people who take seriously both the significance of our redemption and its cost.
At Lent, though, we don’t just count the cost of our redemption. We prepare ourselves for the great JOY of our redemption.
If you think Lent is just about giving up sugar or caffeine, chocolate or soda, you’ve been misled. Lent is about much more than that.
In Lent, we go with Jesus to die. And in Lent, we prepare ourselves for the joy of new life—life that has a new, distinct and better quality, not in some faraway future, but in the here and now.
Jesus came not just to usher us into eternal life with God in heaven. Jesus came to show us what our earthly lives might look like if we could ever grasp what it means to be fully human.
So what DOES it mean to be fully human? That will be the focus of our worship at HERITAGE between now and Easter. This Lent at HERITAGE, we’ll explore our limitedness and discover that Jesus is both present in our limitations and helpful in our efforts to live beyond them.
We’ll enter the desert with Christ and his Tempter, and wrestle with our own temptations (Matt 4:1-11).
We’ll sit under the stars with Nicodemus and ponder both our smallness and the possibility that we might be able to transcend it (John 3:1-17).
We’ll acknowledge together the thirst for more at the heart of who we are that no water can quench—but that maybe Jesus can (John 4:5-42).
We’ll walk with Jesus and ask if those who choose not to see have any advantage over those who are blind (John 9:1-41).
We’ll discover together that it’s not just the physically dead who need to be called back to life (John 11:1-45).
This Lent, we’ll discover that encounters with Jesus are liminal experiences—that when we walk with Jesus we exist on the boundary between how we've lived so far and what it really means to be fully human.
That boundary raises important questions that gnaw at us in our more introspective moments--questions of purpose, fulfillment and identity. These deeper things require our attention. That’s why we have Lent.
During Lent, we acknowledge that even though we are redeemed, there is much left to be polished in us if we are to be fully human as Christ was fully human.
So in the coming forty days, we will take a holy account of our lives. We will acknowledge the dulling tarnish, submit ourselves to the polishing cloth, and ask God to apply God's cleansing pressure in the hope that we will once again be made new at Easter.
See you Sunday.