Thursday, February 14, 2013
Morning Psalm: 37:1-18 | Evening Psalm: 37:19-42
Deuteronomy 7:6-11 | Titus 1:1-16 | John 1:29-34
For many years, I dreaded the coming of Lent. “Oh goody,” I’d say to myself, “my yearly opportunity to mope around being introspective, examining my sins in minute detail so that I can purge myself of them before Easter.” The first year I celebrated Holy Communion on Maundy Thursday, I was practically in a panic before the service because I was convinced that my sin rendered me unworthy of so much as standing in the presence of God, much less of officiating at the sacrament.
Then, one year I found myself reading today’s passage from the Gospel of John, and was thunderstruck by the declaration of John the Baptist: “Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!” It was a passage I had read, and even preached from, many times before. But I had never considered it in the light of Lenten discipline.
It turned out that all my efforts to make myself “worthy” of the resurrection feast were unnecessary, and even self-destructive. Jesus Christ, the Lamb of God, had already dealt with my sin. He had taken it away, laid it upon His own shoulders, and in the process rendered me righteous in the sight of God. I was already worthy to stand in God’s presence, and even to preside at the Lord’s Supper, but not because of anything I had done. That was the Lamb’s gracious doing, done solely out of love for me and all of his people.
Lent, then, is not really about self-examination and agonizing over sin, so much as renewing our vows to live as faithful followers of the Lamb, and in the process to love him with all our heart and soul and strength and mind. Do that, and the problem of sin will take care of itself as the Holy Spirit works within us to bring it about. Lent, far from a time for moping and introspection, is a time for joy.
Lord Jesus Christ, I praise and thank You for what You have already done for me in Your incarnate life, Your atoning sacrifice, and Your triumphant resurrection. Take my eyes off myself, and focus them firmly on You, that my whole life might proclaim Your love and grace. Amen.
The Rev. David S. Fischler (DMin Student)
Faith Evangelical Presbyterian Church
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