A couple of weeks ago I had the chance to speak to one of my favorite professors from divinity school. Following our conversation I recalled something he said about Lent and Easter that I hope I’ll always remember. “Don’t forget the Cross.” He went on to say that our Easter celebration of Jesus’ resurrection is hollow if we fail to acknowledge his suffering on our behalf. This acknowledgement of Jesus’ sacrifice is one of the reasons we may choose to give up something that matters to us during the six weeks leading up to Easter Sunday. For me, Jesus’ suffering also serves as a reminder of his human side and it helps us to connect with the One who shared this aspect of our humanity.
The question I am asking myself and others during this Lenten season is, “What is standing in the way of a deeper connection to the One who can relieve our suffering?” Is it fear? Is it worry? What about business, or selfishness? The list of possibilities is long and we have to search it for ourselves. My Lenten challenge for all of us includes the willingness to embrace an honest examination of the barriers that exist between you and me and the One who longs to calm our fears, the One who gives lasting peace and love to all who are open to what God has to offer.