Monday, March 27, 2017

Words of Change

When the Invitation to Observe a Holy Lent calls for penitence and self-examination, one word immediately comes to mind.  Change.  If both those words are taken seriously, there is going to be some change taking place in our lives.  I remember from my Disciple Bible study days a question which always caused all of us more then just a little pause in the discussion.  One of the questions we were often asked to consider was, "If I take this passage seriously, what changes will I have to make in my life?"  It was a question which had the power to silence even the most verbose of the group around the table. 
The same thing can be said about the words penitence and self-examination.  Let us talk about prayer, or even fasting, or maybe reading the Bible.  Let us talk about anything except what is lurking inside my own heart.  But, nothing changes the truth that these two hard words speak of a harder spiritual discipline.  All of us like to look inward and see only the things that are good and attractive.  We do not want to see the things in our heart that really need to be changed.  To see those things is painful because it means we have to deal with the reality that there is something fundamentally wrong within us that not only affects who we are but also how we treat the people around us.
No one ever said the journey afforded to us in the Lenten season was going to be an easy journey.  The fact that we have before us the journey of Jesus to the cross should inform us that following Jesus is going to be a hard way.  We cannot accommodate sin in our life, our justify it, or pretend it is not present if we truly see ourselves in the light shed by the presence of Jesus.  Lent reminds us that there are always things about our life that are not as they ought to be and that we are the only ones who can choose to put ourselves on a path where change is possible.  Looking at our own heart and what causes us to live as we live is the first step.  Hard it may be, but it is necessary if change is going to be taking place in the important things of our life. 

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