Welcome to Goshen College’s online devotionals for the 2012 Lent season! Our theme this year, taken from Mennonite Church USA worship resources found in Leader magazine, is “Where Do I Sign?” Every Monday an author will introduce the sub-theme, whereas the following weekdays authors will reflect on a specific Scripture from the lectionary.
In the course of daily life, we are routinely asked to sign in, sign on and sign up. We do so without giving it a thought – at the computer, as a wedding guest, at the bank or when attending a funeral. We sign when we agree to pay for goods received or when we volunteer to bake cookies for a fundraiser. We sign forms when we start a new job or become eligible for Social Security.
Lent is the season of the church year when we reflect on our relationship with God and especially the invitation to sign in, sign on and sign up for the journey to new life in Christ. During Lent 2012, we will be inspired by two biblical stories: the story of the children of Israel as they responded to God’s invitation to sign on again and again to the covenant, and the story of Jesus who shows us that even though signing up may lead to suffering, God will never abandon us. Signing on with God leads to a journey of liberation and healing that is worth living and encourages us to invite others to consider: “Where do I sign?
The sub-theme for Lent 1 is “I will remember my covenant.” The “I” in this passage could be God, but it could also be “Bob” or “the church,” or perhaps other entities that have signed on. The church I am a member of recently joined with new members. As a response we, the congregation, read through a statement of what we are committing ourselves to with one another. I recalled the faces of those who helped our family move this past summer. What a stressful time, but the gracious kindness of people helped us.
I also “remembered into the future” wondering what our two young children, Josiah and Mira, will eventually say about the church that is joining with my wife and me in raising them up in the faith. Will they recognize the nature of God’s loving covenant with God’s people as being manifest between our local congregation and them? Will they say that our church guided them into signing onto something that matters in life and faith, or will they see it as just another credit card swipe and not pay much attention to what is on the receipt?
O God, grant us your mercy and loving patience as we remember the real life implications of signing up with a life of faithfulness to you and your ways.