A Model for Lent

We remember Christ's death and resurrection
during the Lenten season. Here we offer some points of
reflection to help us enter fully into this ancient practice. 



During lent faith communities are reliving the dying and rising of Jesus. Death. Resurrection. There is something about Jesus that causes us to gather around him and pay attention to him. His spirituality and his way of living--really, the same thing--is a message and a model for all of us during this season of dying and rising. Here are three aspects of the Jesus model to relive during Lent: 

1) Jesus loved God by loving and serving the outcast and the poor. During the period when he was preparing to die, he told his followers: "Whatever you did for someone overlooked and ignored--the neglected, the prisoner, the lame, the blind--you did it to me" (Matthew 25:40). During this week of Lent, what will be your step of action?

2) Jesus loved God in this world. Jesus saw the tangible and physical presence of God at work in this world. He saw God not staying apart from the world but knee-deep in restoring the world. In some ways it was impossible for Jesus to miss this. After all, he had been physically born into this world. With his eyes he saw the world that needed restoration. For example, he saw abuses of Pharisees happening in real time. He knew he would suffer at hands of the Roman political machine. He saw it, was immersed in it, did not retreat from it. This week wonder about where God is at work in the world of immigration, elections, economy, work, family. Ask God to give awareness. What is your part in the mission of God in this world? 

3) Jesus loved God as a shepherd.  the word "shepherd" has deep history in scripture. The shepherd is a person with both influence on, and responsibility for, a flock. Kings were called shepherds. Ten prophets railed against the Kings who failed to shepherd well their flock. "Woe to the  shepherds who destroy and scatter the sheep of my pasture." Jesus called himself a "Good Shepherd" (John 10). During this period of dying and rising take inventory of how you are doing as a shepherd. Are you using your influence on others for good? 

Perhaps this simple prayer will help you love God as Jesus loved God: 

"God of life, the outcast you love, the world you are here restoring and you are shepherding us. I thank you for these three God activities. And I confess I have not joined you fully. Forgive me. This Lenten season I will love the poor by _________, I will get engaged in your work of restoring ________, and I will shepherd _______. I make this commitment in the name of Jesus who showed me this way of loving you. Amen."