Over six weeks of Lent I will be reflecting on different ‘rocks’ that we could be moving away for ourselves. The rock being moved away from the tomb on Easter day points to a life of freedom and to life itself.
I wonder if you have given up anything for Lent? Some of us do give up something and some of us take something up, like the 40 acts of kindness, as a small reminder of the big sacrifice that was made for us. There are some who say that they don’t really engage with Lent at all and that it’s all too uncomfortable to truly embrace. The reason that is offered is that they consider themselves ‘Easter people’ and so there is no need to journey through the discomfort of Lent. They already know ‘life’.
How can we be Easter people though without engaging with the journey that leads us to the Cross and to death? There is no resurrection if there is no death. We can’t have one without the other.
Lent – if we choose to embrace it – is a time to be unsettled and a time of preparation and spiritual openness. We may not be called into the desert and to a forty day fast, but we are called to be open to God’s spirit. And that’s the real problem, the ‘openness’. What if we, during these forty days, feel God speaking to us and calling us for something more challenging? Too often we want the settled feeling of knowing where we are at and where we are going. If we truly stop and allow ourselves to journey with Jesus through Lent, we might be tested and found unwilling. Best to avoid that and get on with our own journey!
When Moses was tending the flock of his father-in-law and saw the burning bush he had to turn to go to it. He moved from his intended path; “So Moses thought, “I will go over and see this strange sight—why the bush does not burn up.” (NIV Exodus 3:3) and similarly the Good News states “I will go closer and see”. Moses made an active decision to change his path and to ‘go and see’. He was open to God’s spirit and calling.
We need to be open to be drawn by God and God needs people who are willing to be drawn towards him. I have a friend who feels God’s call but he’s simply not willing yet to change his (very comfortable) lifestyle and ‘go and see’. He is not willing to live an unsettled life and leave the pathway that he has chosen for himself. Perhaps one day.
We may well enjoy calling ourselves ‘Easter people’ but if we are not willing to go to the Cross and to travel an unsettling and unsettled journey, open to God’s voice, he will not be able to call on us to do the work he has in mind – and we might miss out on an amazing blessing. Being Easter people is a great blessing, but we risk so much if we are unwilling to experience the little deaths – and the deeper challenges – on our journey with God.
Prayer or reflection
Help me Lord to embrace all that the journey to the cross means, even including the little deaths of my own will, being open to being tested, unsettled, and found willing. Give me a heart willing to be drawn away from the things that comfort me, to the joys of embracing whatever you have in store.