‘Dead or alive’

Published 9:11 am Thursday, March 8, 2018

Signs of spring are around earlier this year. Even with the first day of spring still weeks away, we see fresh blooms all around us. For the community of Christian believers, we are also in a season of spiritual renewal, called Lent. During the 40 days leading up to Easter, the Christian community is called to consider the life and death of Jesus Christ, and to evaluate how we are living as his followers.

God’s intent is that when others see us, they are to see and know Christ. Lent calls us to an unvarnished evaluation of ourselves. In an undistracted way, we are called to see our lives clearly compared to Christ. We are called to measure ourselves and our partnership in God’s work of creating a Christ-centered community. We are called to confess our short-comings and renew our response to God’s grace. We are to “bear fruit worthy of repentance” (Mt 3:8) as clear indication of lives that are being changed by God, even over just these few weeks.

When I was a child, I recall one teacher working with me as I struggled with some work in class. She kept encouraging me and offering techniques to help me learn. Repeatedly, I felt it was too hard, and that I wouldn’t get it. I was tired of trying. “I can’t do it,” I vented. Her reply was a question, “Can’t? Or won’t?” Truth be told, we are capable of far more than we imagine; we just give up too early or never even try. We look at things and think them too hard or impossible.

The biblical witness, however, is of people participating in the impossible, guided by God. The aged Abraham and Sarah give birth and become the great ancestors of faith. People enslaved and hopeless are led out of bondage into freedom. We have countless stories of people at the end of their rope, who discover that God is still with them. God brings the dawn of a new day. Indeed, the upcoming stories of the Last Supper, the crucifixion and resurrection are the penultimate reminder that when it is impossible to go any further, God leads us onward.

My neighbors around me are pruning and prepping their yards. They are preparing to see fresh growth. Let’s do the same with our hearts.

REV. MICHAEL KENDALL is lead pastor of Farmville United United Methodist Church. His email address is mkendall@ farmvilleumc.org.