Dear Friends in Christ at Holy Spirit and St. Helen’s,
Since Lent is a spiritual journey whose focus is encountering Christ in a deeper way, it would seem only natural to remove those things in our lives that inhibit our encounters with the Lord Jesus. After all, the word lent comes from an old English word that signifies new beginnings. It is a form of spiritual spring and just like spring cleaning, our souls deserve the effort to cast off those sins which stand between ourselves and the embrace of our loving God.
A little further down the road of this Lenten journey we will hear that wonderful story about the Prodigal Father. Oh, you thought is was the Prodigal Son! Well, technically it is but the true center of the story is the response of the Father to both sons who find themselves outside the community (a.k.a. family). It is the Father’s lavish generosity and mercy that gets our attention. In this way he is the more prodigal. He goes against the societal norms of shame and honor. Both sons shame him and by the standards of his day he should have disowned his sons for bringing shame upon the family. The beauty of the story is that he refused to condemn them but chooses to show profound mercy!
Today’s story about the fig tree speaks to the willingness of our loving Father to be patient with us. Like the generosity of the story above, the owner of the garden with the fig tree shows a kind of mercy to give the tree another year to produce fruit.
It demonstrates God’s willingness to work with us. He generously infuses our lives with grace, hoping we will embrace His gift and allow it to transform us. Sadly, for too long we have listened to the false impressions that God counts our sins and plans to inflict punishments for our transgressions. Rather, the truth is God desires to cast away our sins and offer us opportunities for growth in faith in order for his love to grow more deeply within us.
We can participate in His grace, if we a willing to shed the effects of sin and embrace the mercy of God’s forgiveness. When we seek reconciliation (a.k.a. confession) we enter into the loving and forgiving presence of God. Just like the Prodigal Father above we get experience the amazing love of Our Father who wishes to free us from our sins.
This Lent I invite to seek reconciliation. Discover the wonder of God’s forgiveness. Be immersed in the love of the Father and discover the wonder of the glory of God finding its way into your life.