The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified. Very truly I tell you, unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds. Anyone who loves their life will lose it, while anyone who hates their life in this world will keep it for eternal life. Whoever serves me must follow me; and where I am, my servant also will be. My Father will honor the one who serves me. John 12:23–26
It is a mistake to segment the Bible and the seasons of the Church calendar as if they were stand alone times or messages. The gospel of Jesus, God’s redemptive plan in the world began with the creation of the world and everything in it. It flows through all of time, Old Testament and New Testament and then into the fulness, the completion of all of his plans in a new heaven and a new earth where there will be no more weeping, where all will be put to right and Shalom fully restored.
As we move out of Lent into Holy Week and then Easter, it is important to think about how times interact with and are connected to one another, to everything that went before and everything that will come after. God is working his plan of salvation and restoration in us and in the world through us. Our goal this Lenten season has been to gain a better understanding of the ways that our lives are out of alignment with the way God has for us, and then to seek to implement concrete practices to help us get realigned with his better way — the way we were made for — a way of fullness.
As we have been on this Lenten journey, have you taken the time to think about the ways that you are misaligned? Maybe it is a compartmentalization of your faith and other areas of your life? Maybe it is seeing your faith as behavior modification instead of an invitation to the very heartbeat of God and his redefinition of you. Maybe it is fear of the future, concern for the now, regrets of the past. Maybe it is disappointment, comparison, prestige, power, approval. As I have said each week, I cannot tell you what it is, but that’s ok, you already know. Even so, you must name it and then commit to a process of realignment — with God and with others — allowing ourself to be shaped, formed and led by God and his view of you rather than these lesser things that deform you.
Does that make sense? If it doesn’t let me know and I would be glad to sit down with you, to discuss it, to help you form a plan. I cannot overstate how crucial this is; it is the heart of discipleship. God seeks to transform you into his likeness so that you can live the life we were meant to live and be a blessing (his hands and feet), missionaries in our world. Nobody will force you to take stock and get to work, ultimately that is up to you. But if you don’t do it, you will be in the same place next year as you are this year, same anxieties, same feelings of incompleteness, wondering if Jesus didn’t really promise more than you are experiencing. He did promise more, and he is ready and willing to do it with you.
Continue on in the journey this Sunday as we reach the collision course, the collision between the Kingdom of God and the Kingdom of the world at Palm Sunday. Join us again for a contemplative and meaningful time of contemplating the cross at Good Friday and finally on Easter where we celebrate the resurrection of Jesus, the promise that death does not have the final word, that all things are possible with the God who has conquered and will ensure that you and I are more than conquerers as well.
Peace, hope and love