Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Lent: From Fear to Forgiveness

Today is Shrove Tuesday, or Fat Tuesday, the day before Lent begins. During Lent, our worship will be centered around the passage from Ephesians 4:31-5:2 "Put away from you all bitterness and wrath and anger and wrangling and slander, together with all malice, and be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ has forgiven you.
Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children and live in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God."(NRSV)

As I think about what radical behavior it takes for us to go from fear to forgiveness, I like the image of a bridge. I have always admired bridges for their beauty, as well as the engineering it took to build. Many persons have lost there lives in the building of these spans, due to the difficulty of building them. Growing up in Massachusetts we had many types of bridges around us, a singing bridge in town, there was the bridge of flowers up the road, just to name a few.
The bridge that God builds for us to grow closer to our creator is a gift. We do not earn it, we do not create it. But for us to go from fear to forgiveness, it means leaving behind our old ways of bitterness and wrath, anger and slander, to live a life of love. This is not any easy choice, and not one we make only once.
Lent is a reminder of how dilagent we need to be in crossing the bridges that bring us closer to God and one another.
John Wesley the founder of United Methodism was passionate about the practices of faith that would lead to this life of love. His called his followers to gather in small groups, classes so they could learn how to leave behind their old ways and accept the new way of Christ. Lent is a time to practice a new way of living, of giving up something that has caused us to be bitter, unforgiving, and cross the bridge to a new place in our lives, of forgiving and loving. We cannot do this alone, it is a journey we need to take together. So I will be posting more often and want you to tell me, what gets in the way of your being able to forgive, and what has given you the courage to forgive? I pray together we will learn about how to forgive more powerfully!

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