It has always been interesting to me that Jesus experienced in one moment God’s powerful, unconditional, life-changing love and in the next moment was tempted not to trust God’s love (Mark 1:9–13). This reality has haunted me my entire faith journey because this is my journey. My prayer this Lenten season is that I clearly recognize the Tempter’s voice and have God’s strength to overcome (Psalm 16:1).
I am easily tempted to follow the voice that will meet my needs quickly. It is so easy to allow fear to be my guide. Along this Lenten journey, I am spending more time listening to the still voice of God in Christ and not the voice of the Tempter. The Tempter’s voice is always a voice that leads me away from my humanity.
There is so much fear and division in our world right now. One such fear is the global outbreak of the coronavirus (Covid-19) In response to increased anxieties and concerns about the pandemic we have compiled a series of resources for pastors, congregational leaders and members. Link to: https://www.pcusa.org/covid19/
Let’s be wise and take precautions, but let us also serve people in need during this time. When we give ourselves away in service to others, we experience God’s transformational mission and God’s shalom, which is God’s mission of wholeness and salvation for all of Creation.
I just finished reading Bryan Stevenson’s book, Just Mercy. He uses Jesus’ story of the woman accused of adultery to make the point that we are called to be stone catchers instead of stone throwers. He defines just mercy in the following manner: “I told those gathered in the church that Walter taught me that mercy is just when it is rooted in hopefulness and freely given. Mercy is most empowering when it is directed at the undeserving. The people who haven’t earned it, who haven’t even sought it, are the most meaningful recipients of our compassion” (Just Mercy, p. 314).
I continue to engage God’s unconditional love in Christ and pray that I live out of that very same love every day. This Lenten journey has been one of praying that I will have the faith of Harriet Tubman; that I will listen for and respond to God’s voice no matter the consequences. The end of this journey is Easter, which is a time to celebrate that the peculiar, beautiful life of Christ is the way of life forever.
Director of Theology, Formation & Evangelism