This past Wednesday we began our Lent Wednesday worship series, “Considering the Cost.” Each week the writings of a contemporary saint and martyr of the church are being shared. To start things off, we reflected on a powerful message delivered by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. during a Lenten sermon. As we listened in, we were reminded of the profound truth that love transcends all boundaries and obstacles. In his stirring sermon, Dr. King illuminated the transformative power of love, urging us to embrace Jesus’ command to love our enemies.
The Bible is filled with characters, literally and figuratively. Perhaps the best way to describe how the Bible portrays its characters is “human” because they are, in fact, human. The Bible is true and the people that inhabit its pages were real people with real problems, just like us.
In the bustling streets of Jerusalem, a rich young ruler approached Jesus, seeking the secret to eternal life. His earnest inquiry revealed a hunger for something deeper, something beyond the material wealth that adorned his life. Jesus, looking upon him with love, offered a radical challenge: “Sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.”
In the marketplace of life, the question of who matters most often clamors for our attention. It’s a question that echoes through the ages, resonating even in the hearts of the disciples who walked alongside Jesus two millennia ago. Mark’s Gospel captures this timeless debate, illuminating the distractions that clouded their minds.
Just today, the snows have returned to lay a wintry blanket over our tiny houses. The beauty of what we see on the outside offers just a glimpse of the the beauty that is emerging on the inside. Wrapped in love, our settlement continues to transform.
Today is Ash Wednesday. And in case you need reminding, today is also Valentine’s Day. It’s not often these two observances coincide. It happened just three times in the 1900’s, and the same will be true of this century. They converged in 2018 and will fall on the same day again in 2029. And that will be it until the next century.
Yesterday, we concluded the season of Epiphany while bathed in divine splendor. Tomorrow, many will celebrate “Fat Tuesday” and “Carnivale” in comparable brilliance. The excess of these Mardi Gras festivities to be concluded in the coming days stand in stark contrast to the next phase of this spiritual journey God onto which God has invited us.