By the Rev. Chad McCall
This Sunday will be the second Sunday of Lent. We aren’t yet halfway through the Lenten season so it is a great time to check in and reflect on your experience so far.
How is your Lenten discipline progressing? Is it time to re-focus or re-think your preparation?
I think this Sunday’s gospel lesson provides an excellent backdrop for reflection. The gospel reading includes John 3:16-17, perhaps some of the most well-known gospel verses—”For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not perish but may have eternal life. Indeed, God did not send the Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him.”
How does your own theology and relationship with God hold these concepts? Where do you fall on the spectrum of love, belief (doubt), condemnation, and salvation? I think we all have times in our lives when we feel like our belief may not be up to par, when we feel like we are under judgement, or when we feel surrounded by the negative and hurtful voices of the world. I would ask you to pay particular attention to how you talk to yourself about your Lenten discipline and about how faithful or unfaithful you feel you have been? Are you speaking words of condemnation and judgment or words of love and acceptance when you speak to yourself?
Even as we proceed through a time of Lenten preparation, discipline, and repentance, I believe that we must also hold on to the reminder that God came out of love to give life. We must remember that even though the world rejected Jesus, Jesus still came to save and not to condemn. Is your Lenten reflection and experience bringing you into a deeper relationship with the God who came to love and to save the world? What can you do to continue to spread the message of love, salvation, and eternal life in your own life and in the lives of others? What small steps can we take to counter the voices in the world that spread hate, fear, or indifference, and replace them with love?