“Commit to the Journey: Space of Amazement” by The Rev. Stephanie Kendell
I hope that your Lenten journey is off to a faithful start. I know our office has lots of new practices for this season of lent and we are all offering prayer and accountability to help these practices take root and do what they are meant to do: bring us closer to God. We hope that you’re Lenten commitments will bring you to the church and our ongoing ministries like our weekly Sunday Bible Study or our YASS social gathering after church this Sunday.
As we talked about on Wednesday night, this Lenten journey that we are starting is one that we are not on alone. Jesus accompanies us during lent because when we live the scriptures, we know that Jesus is also on a journey. A journey of unexpected joys and challenges, of earthly distractions and heavenly rewards. And although Jesus calls us to this journey, and we may have an understanding of what it is leading toward, there will be unexpected experiences along the way like we see in this week’s scripture from the Gospel according to the author of Luke.
1 After having finished this discourse in the hearing of the people, Jesus entered Capernaum. 2 A centurion had a favorite attendant who was, at that moment, sick to the point of death. 3 Hearing about Jesus, the centurion sent some Jewish elders to ask him to come and save the attendant’s life. 4 The elders approached Jesus and petitioned earnestly. “This centurion deserves this favor from you,” they said; 5 “he loves our nation and was the one who built our synagogue.”
6 Jesus set out with them. When he was only a short distance from the house, the centurion sent out friends to convey this message: “Rabbi, don’t trouble yourself, for I am not worthy to have you enter my house. 7 That’s why I didn’t presume to come to you myself. Just give the order, and my attendant will be cured. 8 I, too, know the meaning of an order, having soldiers under my command. I give orders, and they obey.”
9 On hearing this, Jesus was amazed, and turned to the crowd that was following and said, “I tell you, I’ve never found this much faith among the Israelites.”
10 When the messengers returned to the house, they found the attendant in perfect health. (Luke 7:1-10)
I don’t know about you but as I read this scripture, I was excited by the prospect of Jesus being surprised. Whenever I read that “Jesus was amazed,” like we did in verse 9, I remember that part of a life of faith is being open to the spirit, which is filled with both mystery and amazement. So often I think of my journeys in faith, be them Lenten, advent, or just day-to-day as a sober and serious path. But then I am reminded that these journeys that Jesus goes on and calls us to, are meant to bring us closer to God. And the best way to do that for some people is to offer them spaces of amazement where their perception of God at work is expanded by witnessing God at work in real-time.
Friends, where in this Lenten journey have you been amazed? I know that it is only day 2, but how have you been changed by witnessing God at work in other people? Last night at the Ash Wednesday service, with so many of you, I was amazed to hear your commitments to your faith. I was amazed to hear your laughter during my homily. I was amazed that God put us together to travel this world together. I look forward to the many more spaces of amazement God has in store for us.
A quick prayer for your week: Lord, I am amazed. Amen