Another year, another Holy Week, another time to reflect and ponder the story of atonement and redemption. Last year I journaled my way through Lent, writing my thoughts, poetry, and certain hymns or Bible verses that impressed me during that time. This year I prepared for Easter week by beginning a fast on Ash Wednesday, seeking to abstain from a pleasure in order to exercise self-control and to prove that there is nothing earthly that I can't give up for my Savior, or that can give me greater pleasure than He, His divine and Holy Being.
Being reflective during Easter time (or Christmas, or anytime, for that matter) is difficult in our culture. We like noise, we like being busy, we like saying that we don't have time for anything, all the while being busy with the things we want to be busy with. In this way, we distract ourselves from disturbing thoughts, like our part in the story of the cross, and so manage to sanitize the Easter story not just for children, but for ourselves as well. The fact is, the story is not sanitary; it is full of wickedness, depravity, and rebellion against a Holy God. Yes, it's about you and me. That's our part in the story. It is so easy to think that because we haven't murdered, or stolen, or insert-bad-thing-here, that we are good people. I have never known anyone to actually admit that, yet how often is that inner thought exhibited in our lackadaisical approach to Easter, or to worship anytime throughout the year? I am grateful that in my church, a large emphasis is placed on reminding us that we were dead people - dead. I need that reminder. I forget all too easily my desperate need for a Savior. I need my pastor telling me that I was lost in sin but Christ, in His mercy and love, offers redemption through his atoning work on the cross. I believe that we cannot fully understand grace unless we first understand the depths of our sin. If we think that God didn't save us from much, then His grace will only mean that to you. If you understand that your sin nailed Him to that cross, that you cried out with the scoffers that day, that your voice called for His crucifixion when He had done no wrong, then His mercy will mean the world to you, and you will be forever transformed.
If you didn't this year, make next year's season of Lent an opportunity to be still, to put away something that distracts you from reflecting on God's mercy and grace, and His love unswerving - not our deserving.