Lent and becoming

What are we becoming? is a good question echoed in different ways throughout scripture. I think especially of one of my favorite biblical books, the book of Ecclesiastes. And C. S. Lewis’ book, The Great Divorce reminds me very much of this theme.

In the midst of life itself, we can hardly track change. That is even true in regard to the growth which becomes obviously evident in children. Parents sometimes don’t realize what those who come and go over weeks or months do, although the parent with a close eye for that, for example measuring the height of their child, will keep track. Scripture itself not only holds out hope for change, but in and through God’s grace in Jesus in the salvation he brings, seems to expect ongoing change in this life. In ways that we can express, but in other ways which maybe we can’t tell ourselves, but perhaps those around us can.

On the road to Jerusalem was a point in time for which the disciples had been prepared. Imagine if Jesus would have called the Twelve, perhaps embarked on a crash course of a few weeks doing what he did, and then headed off to Jerusalem to die after telling his disciples the fact. This is only speculation, but timing was important. Certainly when the time did come what they were going to do was beyond them, the strength and whatnot they needed to do this was not in themselves. Even at that point it was of grace and the Spirit centered in and through Jesus himself. So they were prepared for this. But it was surely also a time of preparation for them.

I wonder what I’m becoming. Am I making strides against anxiety, and against other things, some which are not that easy for me to express since I’m not sure I understand them well, but which seem to weigh me down. I think it’s good to ask ourselves such questions. Some insist we shouldn’t look at ourselves at all, but only at Jesus. But scripture seems to indicate that as we look to Jesus we do need to reflect on our own lives, on the sin that sidetracks as well as the weights that hinder us.

The disciples hardly had anything together and Judas Iscariot had evidently been consumed with greed so that in the end life for him was all about money and perhaps power. We know that the disciples, except for John, fled, that their leader Peter denied the Lord three times. By and by that experience along with the power of Spirit that came at Pentecost changed the apostles, setting them on the mission of being Christ’s witnesses through the proclamation of the gospel. Peter was changed, even laying down his life as a martyr, in his case crucified, and upside down- since he felt he did not deserve to be crucified in the same way as his Lord. And the other Eleven followed, except for John, whose life was allegedly miraculously spared, and who continued on in his witness and writings into old age.

Lent with its special focus on repentance and preparation can be a means of helping us change. Bringing to light through Jesus where we fall short. And helping us to repent and grow in the change prescribed for us in scripture in and through Jesus.


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