The Mysterious God of Lent
Recently, a friend, who faithfully gives up sweets in all their enticing forms (with the sacrosanct exception of St. Patrick’s Day), is currently enduring a wrenching injury. We might say now: No need to forego the chocolate. Lent is right there in the thick of things. Lent is in the pain, the incapacity, the vulnerability.
How can the Creator of the Cosmos fall beneath the crushing beam of the cross? How can the God of Compassionate Love be crushed against jagged and stony ground? How can the God of “flowers and fiestas,” who enjoyed the birds and blooms of the field and entered into the gala of Cana, be subjected to brutality, humiliation, spiritual abandonment and the torture of being nailed helpless to a cross for criminals?
Yet it is the God of the Universe Who became flesh in order to become the God of Vulnerability, the God of Compassionate Caring. The Word made flesh began in the desert to glimpse the road ahead to Calvary. Yet Jesus emerged from that desert retreat to immerse himself fully in life and ministry. He went to baths and temples, wells and lakes, gardens and homes. In other words, Jesus went ahead responsive to the needs of family, friends, strangers, followers, outcasts, believers and nonbelievers no matter what. He followed his heart. He listened to the Spirit. He heard His Father’s word in prayer. He kept returning to the solitude of reflection and faithfully returned to the social milieu.
The God of Creation chose the path of Redemption in the all-embracing gestures of love no matter what. Only the God of the Cosmos could enter into all that is with radical understanding of the revelations within all that is as well as the profound need within all who are.
Let us enter the deserts of Lent with full intention to find God’s meaning in our searing pain or our uncertainties or our imperfections or our spiritual emptying as well as in our Cana celebrations and the simple joys flowing around us. Let us find revelations in the thick of things about who God truly is, who we really are, how others emphatically need us. Live Lent through the thick of things! That is where the God of the Cosmos and the Vulnerable God of Compassionate Loving finds us.
be our Creative God,
our Redemptive God
our Embracing God.
May Your powerlessness draw us in;
May Your self-emptying coax us closer;
May Your surrender melt any feelings of separation.
so that, climbing the mountain of Your crucifixion,
we may be lifted up with You to the hope realized
in your resurrection.