Jesus went into Galilee, proclaiming the good news of God. “The time has come,” he said. “The kingdom of God has come near. Repent and believe the good news!” (Mark 1:15 NIV)
As our 40-day Lenten journey prepares to draw to a close, (Holy Week begins March 28th), take some time to turn inward. How are you doing? For some of us, this time has flown by, as days and weeks blur into each other. For others, the weeks drag on, wondering when we will ever get to the promised land. Some of us are struggling, and some of us will emerge relatively unscathed (and everywhere in between). So again, I just want to really ask, how are you doing? This wilderness season has been a time to confront the challenges of our shared Christian life. And by shared, I mean the faith we share as well as each and every one of our shared joys and sorrows. Remember that you are not alone in the wilderness.
Has this been an intentional season for you? Have you carved out more time and more space for God? Why or why not? Did you take on any practices? Give something up? How did it go? No judgment, just curiosity. We aren’t out of the woods yet, so there’s still time to make changes. To try again. Unlimited do-overs in the wilderness.
In other words, there’s never a better time to repent. In Jesus, the kingdom of God has come near, in this very wilderness. The call to wake up, to turn back, to start over, to recommit… That door is always open. And it’s good news!
The word repent has such a negative connotation in modern usage. We associate it with judgment and punishment. But really, as used in scripture, the word simply means to turn around. Turn back. Recommit. Start over. It’s a wake up call – an invitation to a new way of living. One that truly is life-giving!
The call to repentance in this season is not one of condemnation. It is opportunity. Each and every day we have the opportunity for a new, fresh start. God is not keeping score against us. No matter how far we stray from our intentions, we can always start over. Even with only one week left in Lent!
In fact, the possibility of new beginnings continues our whole life long. Repentance is the promise of baptism – each day we are made new. As Lent draws to a close and we move into Holy Week, there are many opportunities to recommit once again. You can join in on the final Zoom Lenten Midweek service (March 24th 7:00pm), take some time for scripture or devotional reading on your own to prepare for Easter, or “attend” our Holy Week livestream services of Maundy Thursday and Good Friday (April 1st and 2nd on Facebook). Whatever you commit to doing in the coming weeks, know that the promise rests on grace. We will celebrate the resurrection on Easter Sunday (April 4th) at 8:15 in person, outdoors at St. Mark, and at 9:30am on the Facebook livestream.
Lenten blessings to you!