Welcome to Goshen College’s online devotional series for the 2011 Lenten season! “Becoming Human: Called and Shaped by Jesus” is this year’s theme taken from Mennonite Church USA worship resources. Lent is the season of the church year in which we focus particular attention on foundational questions of our existence. This Lenten season we ask: What does it mean for us to be created and recreated images of God? How may we become authentically human?
Surrounded by a host of pressures that squeeze and contort us into less-than-human, even inhuman, shapes and disfigurements, Lent invites us to let go of those pressures and distractions and to pay special attention to the Christian practices of prayer, solitude, Bible study, simplicity and service.
Yet we also remember that we cannot reshape ourselves. These practices simply open up space in our lives for God to work. It is our Creator who will recreate us; it is Jesus whose own life, death and resurrection calls us and transforms us into a new way of being human. We become human, indeed we are reborn, as the Spirit breathes life into us, a life that bursts forth from deep within like a stream of living water.
The passages of Lent 1 this week grapple with the theme of “I acknowledged my sin.” There are certain sins of mine that I can easily look into the mirror, see, name, ask forgiveness and move on in life. But then there are those, well, there are those that I find it difficult to admit to. There are those sins that “other people” are more guilty of than me because I refuse to look into the mirror. I wish not to acknowledge them; it hurts too much. It cuts too deeply to the core of my being in which I recognize my brokenness, my pain, my flaws. Those are the areas I struggle to name, and so I find myself focusing on the surface sins that can easily be resolved and make me feel like I’m purging myself of the yuck.
O God, I am a mortal being. I know so well those sinful realities that are rooted in my core. Grant me your grace, courage and mercy to name them to you, and I pray for their uprooting.