February 23rd, 2009
By Brian Martin Burkholder
EMU Campus Pastor
It might be that this Lenten journey does not resemble 40 weekdays of fasting and penitence. Many of us hardly know what true fasting and penitence looks like. We’re pretty high on living into an Easter faith with almost daily Easter feasting! What would it mean for us to give ourselves to practicing a genuine Lenten journey?
The scriptures selected for Lent 2009 invite us to encounter significant God-initiated covenants and the journey of Jesus from being anointed by God through baptism to faithfully surrendering his life on the cross. How might we respond?
Perhaps we could start by following Jesus into the wilderness – asking ourselves questions similar to those thrust at Jesus. We might also consider what it took for Abram to trust God enough to journey into an unknown wilderness. In what kind of wilderness do we find ourselves? A financial wilderness? A pain filled wilderness? A self-righteous wilderness? A wilderness lacking deep trust in God?
As we postpone the Easter feast and journey in Lent through reflecting on the darker, hidden, challenging parts of our lives, might we catch a glimpse of the depths of God’s love and grace? Could we find that our trust in God draws us closer to experiencing the depths of God’s love and grace in our lives – even in the midst of fasting?
I invite us all to take the risk of moving toward a genuine Lenten journey this year. Let the sense of emptiness come and strive to not fill it with fluff. Ponder the big questions of life and faith and even doubt. Embrace the depths of reflection that does not quickly resolve. We can be travel companions. Perhaps this guide will help.