The Lenten Journey
The season of Lent is a journey with Jesus to the cross. Along this way we learn to die to ourselves so that we may live to Christ. Paul wrote,
“I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.” (Galatians 2:20).
Paul makes this sounds like a once-and-done type of experience, but I don’t think this is his intention. He, of all people, knows that our death to self is a painful process. It involves letting go of sacred cows, refusing to depend on unjust means of propping up our privilege or protecting ourselves at the expense of others. This was the path Jesus walked. Though he was “in very nature God [he] did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage” (Philippians 2:6). In this way Jesus is our perfect example of self-emptying love. The things that are most painful to let go of are our privileges, especially if we have convinced ourselves that we have earned the things that are in fact our social and cultural birthright.
This year we have been considering that part of the sin that needs repenting (that is, turning away from and onto a different way) are not personal and private sins so much as sins that we have been conscripted into—sometimes without our awareness. As we continue to lay down our lives with Jesus for the sake of the salvation God is bringing into the world, may God give us new imagination to discern where he is leading us, both individually and as a community.