Where do we see Jesus in our world?
As we move from Epiphany into Lent (which begins on Valentine’s Day this year), we keep our eyes open to see where Jesus is in our world and in our lives.
This past month I have been focusing on noticing the presence of God. One of the ways I’ve done it is by pausing in my day to ask, ―what does God look like here, right now?‖
On a day when I was exhausted and preparing dinner—overwhelmed at how messy the house was and not wanting to cook or clean or do anything, really—I imagined God as an overwhelmed woman perching on a stool in my kitchen, right there in the middle of the mess with me.
As I’ve watched the news about children brought here by immigrant parents, and heard vitriolic debates, I’ve seen God looking like a Latina high school student who’s working hard at all the things American high school students do to prepare for a better life. I’ve seen God looking like a Puerto Rican father in the harsh Dedham winter, and I’ve seen God looking like a soccer mom dropping off clothes and food and Charlie Cards.
One day in Sunday school, God looked like one of our young children praying, “I hope when people are sick others will not run away.”
God takes on flesh, and lives among us, and is found especially on the margins of our society.
This Lent, we’ll turn our focus to Jesus. In our worship and in our Sunday school, we’ll hear again some of the treasured stories from Jesus’ ministry. We’ll hear about his baptism and the ways he healed people; we’ll hear about how he challenged the people in power and how he ate dinner with outcasts. We’ll hear how he was so faithful to God—and so faithful in challenging the deal-dealing ways of this world—that it got him killed.
As we come to see Jesus better in the world he lived in, we’ll get better at seeing where Jesus is in our world. What is Jesus calling us to? What faces is Jesus taking on today? If we are truly following Jesus, where will we go, and who will go with us?
As in many years past, there will be weekly meetings throughout Lent to pray and talk together, and Bible readings and a book to read throughout the week. We’ll join with our friends at the Stratford Street United Church; Cheryl will lead a group here at the Allin Church on Tuesdays from 9:15-10:15 , and I’ll lead a group at SSUC on Thursdays from 7-8.
We’ll spend time each week contemplating the gospel stories for the coming Sunday—seeing what we notice about how Jesus is acting, what he’s saying, who’s around him, and imagining where we might see ourselves in the texts.
We’ll also read through Howard Thurman’s Jesus and the Disinherited. This book is a classic, and the author was a brilliant theologian and devotional thinker; he was also a mentor to the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. It helps us to understand the ways Jesus stood with those at the margins. Even though it was written 70 years ago, his words have so much hope to speak to us. The back cover of the book says this: “For although scorned and forced to live outside society, Jesus advocated a love of self and others that defeats fear and the hatred that decays our souls and the world around us….Thurman’s work reached past anger and distrust toward a vision of unity.”‖ Let me know if you want me to get you a copy.
My prayer is that we would all see Jesus more clearly in our world, and hear more clearly how he is calling us to act.
With you in the Love of Christ,