Tuesday, March 29, 2011

it may not be comfortable...

Throughout Lent, we've been looking at the 24 hours before Jesus' death, and I'm finding that (despite my long history of church-going) I know very little about the details of that day in history. I imagine I'm partly to blame for this– typically avoiding scripture and images that aren't particularly uplifting. I wonder whether it is because in general I shy away from subjects that are upsetting, or if it's because in some way I feel responsible. Looking more deeply at Peter's denial of Christ and at the crowds who convict and condemn him yelling "Crucify him!," would I have done the same?

In our small group this past Sunday, the question arose whether or not we would recognize Jesus if he showed up in our presence today. How would we truly know THIS was the man to follow? How would we know this particular man was the one sent from God? If even those who claimed to be looking for Jesus sentenced him to death, how can we better recognize and receive the gifts God offers us?

It may begin with being open to experiences that are a little uncomfortable. It may mean opening ourselves to accept a new or different reality from what we know. In the next few weeks, as we near Easter, we'll be reading and exploring more deeply texts we normally like to glance over. Although we may think understanding the outcome is enough, perhaps this time around we'll learn something more from looking at the details. Maybe we'll find Jesus' offering and God's saving love to be even more incredible this time around because we sacrificed some of our own comfort to receive them.

Friday, March 11, 2011

making preparations

Lent is intended to be a time to prepare ourselves for the rich and powerful gift of the resurrection. Many of us participate in the practice of giving things up- chocolate, soda, girl scout cookies, t.v.- and if you live in my house you take the literal approach and sacrifice those things the 40 days before Easter NOT including Sundays. (Even God rested on Sunday...) Others commit to adding practices into their lives for those 40 days, such as daily devotion or prayer, acts of service, or communicating with friends and family. But how are these actions really preparing us for this incredible gift Christ offers? What are we really expecting on Easter?

I think the beauty of faith is being able to offer up our best intentions and let God work out the rest. In the first verse of this week's gospel reading Jesus tells the disciples to go and make preparations for the passover meal, but didn't reveal to them the particular significance of this meal together. He didn't expect them to understand fully the weight of their actions, only that they would take care to do what they were asked. I believe that's what Jesus asks of us also.

As we move through this season, I hope as a community we will be open and ready to receive the gifts God has in store- that through our preparations we will truly see his glory this Easter.