Welcome to Rethinking Lent. So glad to have you. Maybe you've "done" Lent for years; maybe you're highly curious and don't have much context for it. So let's just keep it simple. Each Sunday of this Lent season we will get a word for the week to reflect upon and carry with us. May it be a meaningful and fresh perspective on Lent.
And along the way I am not going to assume the chapters in your story look like mine. That would be a shame; your rich purposeful chapters are well-written and our world needs your story as much as mine.
What I am going to assume is that if you are here, then you want to think about what God is doing this Lenten season, no matter your background and experience. So let's enjoy our journey together!
Having grown up Catholic, I smell battered fish in the kitchen and see dark smoky churches filled with solemn people and earnest priests. I remember my dad giving up beer until Easter, March Madness in the background, and a concentrated time of Remembering during Lent.
Because I was little, I couldn't quite remember what we were remembering.
So if that's you, too, let's start from The Beginning.
Our word for this first week of Lent is: Good.
It's one of the most repeated words in the first chapter of the entire Bible. Clearly God wants us to know a few things about goodness:
God is good.
God created good things.
God made people and called them good.
God enjoys goodness.
God is for our good.
God creates the ocean and the mountains and the beasts and the foliage and steps back, looks at all of them with proud eyes, and says: You are good!
But the crown jewel, the Best For Last, was you and me. After he made such beautiful things, He made people. And the gift in the making of us was that we would be like Him. We actually bear His image. We have His special stamp on and in us, different than anything else He ever created. And it was VERY good. We get an extra emphasis here, when it's all said and done.
This week, as we Lent Together, let's remember that it all began as Good. Eden was overflowing with good at every turn. Think: organic fruit and vibrant, plush trees planted by easily flowing rivers. We were made for Eden and Eden was made for us. The-God-included-kind-of-Us. God created humans to walk around in the cool of the day with Him. Together. That was one of God's very good ideas.
The beginning was good and He had a good plan and He created goodness.
We have a Good King who had love in His heart that He just had to share. Nothing has changed about that. We moved, not Him. And even then, in our turning away, He made a good plan to rescue us. To come for us. To chase us down. To restore a good relationship.
Thank you King Jesus, for all the goodness. All the beauty. All the hope. All the right relationship that was Eden and organic fruit and unstained intentions and true hearts and real love. Thank you that we can see what you made and we can remember that it was good, made by a good God.