This month of March is normally the heart of Lent in the Christian tradition, and this year is no exception. We are also fortunate this year that Western and Eastern Lent (because of Easter) coincide.
Traditionally, Lent is understood as a season of repentance and renewal, and that is certainly true. But I would suggest as well that one dimension of Lent that allows us to experience that repentance and renewal is often overlooked: Lent is finally about the cross of Jesus, and finding ourselves in that story once again. “He set his face toward Jerusalem,” and so do we.
Lent is a time to get our individual and corporate stories straightened out, to re-narrate ourselves (or, better, to allow the Spirit to re-narrate us) into the story of God’s self-giving, life-giving love that culminated in Good Friday and was vindicated on Easter Day.
We are each and all characters in many stories: individual, family, ecclesial, communal, national, global. But which story is our master story? To which one do we gravitate when life is hard, very hard, and faith, hope, and love seem distant? Do we naturally turn to some family, or perhaps national, narrative for security and direction? Although such narratives may be valuable in certain respects, they ultimately cannot save us, and therefore they should not ultimately define us. Moreover, there are some dimensions of such stories that are in conflict with THE story, and there are even whole stories that collide dramatically with THE story.
Lent is a time to return to our true story, our master narrative, a time to allow God to weed us out of unfruitful stories and plant us in the garden of God’s story, the story of the crucified Messiah who is the power and wisdom of God.*
A reflection inspired by the reading of Daniel Kirk’s thoughts on Lent.