Discovering Spiritual Truths & Celebrating God's Grace in the Every Day Happenings of Life.
It has now been -- years ago, but I still remember coasting through my senior year of high school. I had already been accepted to the college I was planning on going to, and the majority of my course load was either required or relatively easy. Senioritis had kicked in and was in full effect... pretty much from the moment my senior year had started! But then there was my English class. Though the class itself was not incredibly difficult nor was the work too burdensome, I had coasted a bit too long and a bit too far. I neglected the reading and put off the journal writing. Not-so-suddenly my grade dropped to the point of not being able to graduate. Yikes! This was not a fun conversation for a perpetual honor roll student to have with mom and dad. As a direct result of my laziness, and thoroughly enjoying the fun of a socially active senior year, I was left in a precarious position. Improve the grades or else. No walking in graduation and no summer fun. Fortunately, with a few extra assignments and a flexible, albeit a bit wacky, English teacher, I was able to finish the year off strong. I passed the class and did not have to miss any of the graduation day festivities.
There is great danger in coasting through things. We miss important events, overlook essential details, or we fall into an apathetic laziness that can have all sorts of ramifications for our lives. This is what the season of Lent seeks to help us avoid. It is a season in the church year dedicated to shaking us from our spiritual stupor and prod us to pay attention to the important subject matter at hand. It is meant to ensure we don’t miss the indispensable narrative of Jesus’ passion week. Lent is a season of 40 days where we take time, intentionally, to zero in and reflect on the need for and preparations of Easter Sunday. We dare not coast through Lent. We dare not act like this is no big deal. We dare not just stop working (or worshiping) until Easter. Of course, we are excited for the uplifting sights and sounds of Easter. It is, after all, a victorious celebration. But it came after some major storms in the life of our Savior. So we continue in Lent, looking carefully at the places and moments of the sufferings Christ endured on His journey to the cross. These moments not only showcase His immense love for us, but they also give us a model by which to battle our own struggles, obstacles, and temptations.
Indeed, Lent is God’s story of putting back together a shattered world, and more importantly our shattered relationship with the Creator. We dare not miss this story because we’re too busy or distracted. We dare not overlook it because we’re having too much fun or spiritually slacking off. Think of it this way, when driving a car, if I take my foot off the pedal, the car does not speed up. It doesn’t even maintain the same speed. Instead, from the very moment I take my foot off the accelerator, the car begins to slow. Allowing the car to coast is inviting the car to stop. It may take some time, but left on its own, it will stop eventually. It is inevitable. Before you know it, a long hill or unanticipated obstacle comes and you don’t have the momentum to move forward. This Lent be intentional about not coasting in your relationship with Jesus. Lent is not a time for us to take the foot off the pedal, but to intentionally keep moving to Jesus, grasping tightly to the incredible tools He gives us in His word and to avoid any coasting that may end in a complete spiritual stop!
"Lent comes providentially to reawaken us, to shake us from our lethargy." (Pope Francis)
Pastor Steve Vera