I take solace in the promise of God’s nourishing hope that is available despite my shortcoming and frailties. For some, Lent is not a gift to embrace but rather a chore to be endured. Yet, Lent, in my opinion, is an opportunity to look honestly at our lives, not so we may criticize ourselves more harshly, but that we may identify the obstructions that weigh our spirits down and impede our capacity to imagine God-sized possibilities for the world, our communities, and ourselves.
Lent gives us the opportunity to move the obstructions that get in the way of God’s desires for us and enables us to think with holy bold imagination. When obstacles are released, we are no longer burdened, and we are genuinely able to say, “nothing is impossible with God.” Too often, though, our ability to imagine God’s story, to articulate a future hope is stymied by carrying the unnecessary weight of fears and faults for which we have yet to relinquish in response to the gift of God’s grace.
The prophet Isaiah alerts us that when we walk in righteousness, even when the way seems uncertain, God has a way of replenishing our parched souls. The weight of unrepentant sin in all its forms, individually, communally, and nationally, can obstruct our ability to see God at work in the world. Obstructions of the heart and soul take many forms, including the unwillingness to love our neighbor as ourselves or our inability to see our complicities in systems that deny others their full human dignity. Yet, another that is often prevalent in the body of Christ, our unwillingness to accept God’s grace and forgiveness because we are striving to be the source of our salvation. If we are honest, all of these things bear down on our fragile frames and weary our souls and impoverish our capacity to see a better future.
During this season of lent, place your burdens before the altar of grace. God’s promise is our bones will be strengthened for the journey ahead, and our souls watered so that new growth can
God help me to let go and let your grace overcome, that I may imagine a future full of Hope.
Rev. Chris Brady is the pastor at Wilson Temple UMC in Raleigh