Dearest Members of Bethlehem,
“You desire truth in the inward being; therefore teach me wisdom in my secret heart.” -Psalm 51:6 (NRSV)
“What you’re after is truth from the inside out. Enter me, then; conceive a new, true life.” -Psalm 51:6 (The Message)
The season of Lent is easily dismissed, and even more easily trivialized. And quite frankly, that’s a shame, because these 40 days can be a time of profound spiritual significance.
Before we go any further, let’s just get this one thing straight: Lent is not a time to “feel bad about yourself.” It is instead a season to feel good about the possibility and potential inherent in your spirit.
It is also a time to acknowledge that, as helpful as “self-help” might be, Lent is in some ways the opposite of “self-help.”
Lent is a season, as the translation above so beautifully captures, when we invite God into our lives. And God’s ever-present all-powerful grace gradually transform us.
What will it take, what will be required of us? Simply put, honesty… and a little humility wouldn’t hurt either.
You see, what God is after, as Eugene Peterson notes in his translation of Psalm 51, is truth - “from the inside out.” What a profound and life-giving turn of phrase. So often what folks see of us is the surface; the polished exterior, the cheerful persona, the “can-do” attitude that is so captivating.
Is there more to us? Yes, of course, much more. And sometimes, that “much more” is the very stuff we need help dealing with, working out, and sorting through.
40 days of collaboration with the Spirit of Christ, just might provide “a new, true life.” And honestly, isn’t that what we’re all actually longing for anyway?
May God bless you abundantly in the season ahead, and may you come to the Easter feast truly celebrating the promise of new life in Christ!
Question for reflection: How will the season of Lent be distinctive for you?
Yours in Christ,
God of mercy, in every season we desperately need repentance and renewal. Bless us with the ability to see… those aspects of our lives that need mending, the profound joy present in spiritual discipline, and the deep fulfillment that comes through faithful service. Remind us that now is the time to remember our baptism and begin again the sacred journey. We pray this in the name of Christ our Lord, Amen.