My beloved Annie and I love to travel, to see new places, experience other cultures and meet new people. After every adventure we often remark that as fantastic and wonderful as each location has been, often times what we remember the most is the journey, to and from, our destination. The spotlessly clean and amazingly fast trains in Switzerland or the colorful conversation with a taxi driver in Italy, the elderly owner of a very small cafe in Paris who, holding her little dog in her arms, sits at our table to have a conversation with you before you order your delicious meal. The journey is often one of surprise, and delight, with twists and turns never planned or expected, but always meaningful when we, “go with the flow” a slang for, allowing the situation to happen as we used to say decades ago. What is that old saying, “God is in the details,” or for us, the journey.
At Christmas we celebrate the incarnation, or, the breaking into human history of the God of Heaven and Earth, the Creator of all that is seen and unseen. God’s miraculous birth as an infant is both amazing, and, a surprise. Who would expect the King of Kings to become a helpless infant in order to connect with his people in their humanity. Now that is a story to be told over and over, and a great continuation of the journey from the Garden of Eden to the Kingdom of God in the New Heaven and the New Earth told in the Book of Revelation. [Strikingly the beginning and the ending look similar but with Heavenly improvements]
But the journey has a twist, and we call it Lent, forty days from Ash Wednesday to Easter, in train analogy it is like the train has taken a side track for a short detour before it gets back on the main rail lines to continue the journey. What I mean is that it seems odd to place the forty day period of personal reflection, and fasting and repentance of Lent in between Christmas and Easter, or does it.
Lent is here and with it we are called to search deeply within ourselves what it means to be created in the image and likeness of God? What does it mean to be people of the living God? What is this “sin” that separates us from God and for which God call us to repent and be forgiven?” Lent is about recalling the great saving actions of God recorded in Holy Scripture, it is about God calling us back to more dedicated prayer lives, to seek Him in our words and our actions, and to prepare our hearts and minds for the saving grace of the Easter resurrection. God is is born to us, Emmanuel, at Christmas. God redeemed us at Easter. We are reminded in between that God is a forgiving and loving God who calls us to be His people and to follow His lead along the journey we call life.
This lent, as we experience the journey, take time for prayer even if you only have two minutes each day. Listen to the still small voice of God calling you to be forgiving of others, loving them as He loves you, and to be loved by Him as you seek Him in your life. Easter is coming. In fact, throughout the church year, every Sunday is to be a reminder and a celebration of the Easter resurrection.
Lent: who are we, whose are we, and, where is the journey leading us? Only God knows, but one thing is for sure, He has a destination prepared for us built in love, by love, and for love, eternally. God is love.
Peace and joy and hope be yours, I remain your servant in Christ.
Pastor Ernie Worman is the Newberry College Campus pastor.