Lenten reflections on the first real day of Spring
Today, I spent the better part of the late afternoon digging a hole in my front yard with our two-year-old son, Thomas. It may seem like grunt work, but there is much precision involved in hole-digging: one must have the right kind of stick, a good game plan, and of course, be ready to get one’s hands a little dirty.
I hadn’t actually changed out of my “pastor clothes” as Thomas calls them, so when we first started running around the yard, I must admit, I was a little hesitant to lie face down on the grass and dirt in order to find a good “digging spot.” This, of course, quickly gave way to a very undignified scene as one must – as any good spelunker knows – get right down on the ground in order to find a good spot of soft ground. I no time at all, we were both covered with mud, dirt, and grime. Enter our refection…
As I think about the incarnation of Jesus Christ; what it means – especially as we approach this last leg of our Lenten journey to the Cross – that the Divine became one of us, I’m drawn to the utter nearness God chose to have with us. I mean, think about it – surely the One who spoke the world into existence, who healed the sick and raised the dead from so far away could have just as easily won salvation and eternal life for us without walking among us, don’t you think?
But that’s not how God operates. He chose to wallow in the mud with us, to get His hands dirty, to have a level of intimacy with us that’s more than evident by His experience with us and among us. As the writer to the Hebrews puts it, “We do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weakness, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin” (Hebrews 4:15), and here’s his point…
“Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need” (Hebrews 4:16). In other words, there’s no need pretend that we’re perfect, or that we have our stuff together all the time, or that we’re all getting through life without any trouble. God knows better than that. He knows because He’s been there.
So, as we get closer every day to the great celebration of Christ’s death and resurrection, let’s covenant together to process our lives a little more honestly – with God and with one another. Ours is not a far-off God who doesn’t have a clue how hard life is. Ours is a God who empathizes with our every weakness, who walks with us through every struggle, and who suffers alongside us as one who has suffered before us. Thanks be to God!