Tuesday, March 2, 2010


I told you I’d have trouble keeping focus for 40 days.  But I’m back on the bandwagon...for now.

Before it began this year, way back in the middle of February, I confessed that I had focus issues with Lent.  Whether it’s something I’d give up or something extra I’d do during this 40-day journey, I know myself well enough to know I’d have trouble staying focused.  Well, I’m there.  I’m not meandering through Lent, but I’m apparently not as holy as those who are making sacrifices.  Seriously: keep your commitment and may God bless your spiritual exercise.  Honestly, I’m doing well to remember to go to www.d356.org/journeytothecross for the daily readings, reflections and response opportunities (which, when I remember to do so, are awesome!).

At least I’m remembering that it is Lent, that there is a journeying aspect to these days and that this thing is headed toward an intentional self-giving act of solidarity bringing about awful reactions from dominators, loving, pointed but nonviolent responses from Jesus and puzzled empathy from bewildered followers.  I’m down with that.  None of the ancient story is lost on me.  In fact, it lives in me.  The gospel story has shaped my life and thinking and trajectory in ways I can’t even begin to articulate.  I can’t get away from it.  I’m gospel saturated.  For me, it’s Advent and Christmas and Lent and Holy Week and Easter and Pentecost all the time.

Maybe it’s the idea of taking up a limited 4-chapter portion of the gospel for a little while that disqualifies me from being a very good Lenten companion for others.  Or maybe that’s just an excuse.  I don’t know.  All I know is that this journey Jesus made to Jerusalem is the game changer for life and eternity.  Whether we want to focus on the humanly heroic self-giving, self-emptying of Jesus and his costly solidarity with us--with our shame, our brokenness, our struggles, our pain--or whether we want to focus on the transcendently breathtaking Savior who cooperated fully in a sin-destroying mission to redeem, release, and restore the human race, this part of the journey-story is crucial.

Maybe there’s hope yet for me to get on the Lenten road.  Focus, focus, John!  It’s not about what you give up, Hay.  It’s not about what you can do, silly.  It’s not about tending to ritual superficialities while the world continues going to hell in a hand basket.  It’s continuing to let the story that’s in you be lived through you in a way that glorifies God—whatever that means, wherever that leads, whatever it takes.  Argh!  I knew it would come down to this.  So, be it.  Let it be.

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