“Commit to the Journey: Every Tomorrow” by The Rev. Stephanie Kendell
I hope this week in lent has been one filled with prayer and support. Lent is a time in which we make new commitments to God, our communities, and ourselves. These new commitments take intention, faithfulness, and time so that we may grow toward God and change for the good. Often, we think of our Lenten practices as solo ventures, but actually they are meant to be done with the support of community. This Sunday we hope you will join us online or in person for worship and allow us to offer you support as you continue on your Lenten journey.
A Lenten journey is one that is both spiritual and physical. Even if your Lenten practice seems solely spiritual, like adding extra prayer time to your day, at the end you are physically changed. And it goes the opposite way as well. Practices that are physical will have a spiritual outcome. This is partly because these seemingly small shifts in our day have wider impacts on our lives. Our Lenten practices are expansions of our already at-work faith, commitments on top of everything else that is going on in our lives.
Balancing all this can be a challenge. Being careful to create time and space for a new practice and not letting something else that is important fall to the wayside can be an exercise in balance in all its forms. Luckily, we know that Jesus faced these same problems as well. Let’s read together this passage from Luke as Jesus talks about his many commitments and encourages us to continue on through the joys and the struggles of our faith commitments.
31 Just then, some Pharisees came to Jesus and said, “You need to get out of town, and fast. Herod is trying to kill you.”
32 Jesus replied, “Go tell that fox, ‘Today and tomorrow, I’ll be casting out devils and healing people, and on the third day, I will reach my goal.’ 33 Even with all that, I’ll need to continue on my journey today, tomorrow, and the day after that, since no prophet can be allowed to die anywhere except in Jerusalem.
34 “Oh Jerusalem, Jerusalem! You kill the prophets and stone those who are sent to you! How often have I wanted to gather your children together as a mother bird collects her babies under her wings – yet you refuse me! 35 So take note: your house will be left to you desolate. I tell you, you will not see me again until you say, ‘Blessed is the One who comes in the name of our God!’” (Luke 13:31-35)
Through joys of bringing healing to people, seeking justice in the name of those facing systemic evils, and in the face of violence to his personhood, Jesus continues on and in doing so, calls us to do the same. The canvas of your life will look overwhelmingly blue, but the light of hope will always shine through. But Jesus doesn’t say that it will be easy. In fact, he painfully speaks of the ways people and communities seem to turn on him and his good work. But the good news of his life will prevail. He promises that we will see him again and that the joy at the end of our Lenten practices will be worth the hard work and sacrifices.
Friends, when the challenges of life show up, do as Jesus did and go tell that fox that your faith calls you to carry on. Tell that fox that you will continue to follow Jesus and be sustained by his grace and love. And go tell that fox that the challenges you face, especially the balancing of spirit and self that accompany this season of lent, will be met head-on. Because you are not alone. You are on a journey with God. The one that shines the sun through the forest. The one who brings community to the lonely. The One who with faithfulness created yesterday, today, and every tomorrow. And the One who reminds us that he will come again in the name of our God.
A quick prayer for your week: Lord, I am thankful for the hope that every tomorrow brings. Amen