Lent and the discipline of pressing on come what may

Lent is a season of repentance sometimes accompanied with fastings in anticipation of Holy Week, when we remember our Lord’s suffering and death followed by his resurrection. And we look back to the first Holy Week as recorded in scripture, and what preceded that. In doing so, we find the supreme example we’re to follow, the example of our Lord. And we find the motley crew of disciples, who I can identify well enough with, lumbering on in spite of themselves, following the Lord up to Jerusalem, even though astonished with surely some fears. They were doing something that at least at certain times along the way made little sense to them. Although regularly filled with this and that wonder in both Jesus’ words and mighty works.

This is my first year really taking Lent seriously all the way through. And the exercise has been a good one which in some sense can carry on beyond Lenten season in that I will be more accustomed to this kind of reflection and practice. The human spirit is known to be resilient and that can be either good or bad. What is needed is more than that. We need the Spirit of God through Jesus to help us carry on in nothing less than the way of the Lord and all that means. We do so, living out the meaning of our baptism, as we read in Romans 6. Both in terms of our Lord’s death and his resurrection. So that oddly enough, we follow on in the way of his death in the power of his resurrection. The disciples of old during those first days had something we do not: the very presence of the Lord and therefore the Spirit with them to help them along as they accompanied him in the journey to Jerusalem. But we have what the disciples of old did not have in that the Spirit who was with them is now in us, the very Spirit of Christ. So that we can go on, in spite of everything, pressing on come what may. In anticipation of the great day when the new world which Easter, our Lord’s resurrection has ushered in will be completed when heaven and earth become one in the resurrection to come. In the mean time we want to follow more and more closely in denying ourselves and taking up our cross and following.

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