Florence Congregational Church
Saturday, July 11, 2020
A Place to Connect

March 2015: Walking the way to the cross

We are in the season of Lent, a time when we walk with Jesus the terrifying pathway to the cross.  It is a time when we, like Jesus, contemplate what it means to be faithful.  It is a time when we, like Jesus, stare deeply into our souls and ask what it is our God would have us to do.  It is a time when we, like Jesus, can do nothing else but pray to God for God’s will to be done, not our own.

But most of us go through this season as we do any other…. day-by-day consumed with the activities of daily living…. Cooking, laundry, earning a living, school, basketball games, church committees.  Somehow, the church calendar and our personal calendars seem to have little to do with each other.  Is this also true of Jesus?  Do our personal lives have little to do with the life of Jesus?  Do we so take our faith for granted that we think little of Jesus’ trial and agony and simply take the resurrection for granted?

Sometimes I fear that we have lost our ability to have spiritual empathy with Jesus.  We gloss over the stories of Lent… the betrayal, the denial, the injustice, the desertion, the killing… because it’s going to be OK in the end.  And because we know the story, its power in our lives is but a footnote to our everyday faith.  We become numb to the stunning events that redeemed us unto God.  In many ways, we live in a time that encourages us to be numb to what is around us. Injustices of poverty and hunger, child abuse and domestic violence overwhelm us until we feel helpless.

Lent is the time to break through the numbness of both world and spirit.  Lent is the time to dare to feel; to be introspective and ask ourselves the hard questions of faith.  How can I become a better Christian?  How must my habits and way of life change to reflect the work Jesus calls me to?  Will the work of my hands, mind and heart make a difference to God’s presence in this world?

All of these questions begin with a hard look at what Jesus endured that we might have new life.  What he faced wasn’t for his glory but for our chance at new life.  Can’t we then make some special time in this Lenten season to contemplate his great sacrifice on our behalf?  Shouldn’t we then clear some space in our day to linger with the stories of his passion and reflect on the journey he walked?

Lent is an opportunity for deep spiritual renewal if we choose to make it so.  It is an intensely personal journey we make with our Lord and Savior.  And, it deserves the honor of being part of our daily life.

So pray, and pray deeply. Read the passion stories and hold them in your heart.  Meet Jesus not just in his glory, but in his suffering, too, and know how much he needs your presence on his way to the cross.

Then, and only then can we claim Easter for the miracle that it is and for the new life it establishes for us with God.  Then and only then will our celebration of Easter carry the exquisite joy of redemption.  Then and only then will our commitment to Christ gain renewed vibrancy and dedication.  This is the path not only to the cross but also to our renewal...

 Walk it conscientiously.

                                                                                                                        Blessings, Pastor Irv



Florence Congregational Church • 130 Pine Street, Florence, Massachusetts 01062 • 413.584.1325