Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Jesus: The Reason We Suffer

As the Christian liturgical calendar enters lent today, I am very blessed to be at a point that my heart is much in need of the sabbath this tradition invites it's devotees into. I do not come from a tradition that practices lent, yet I am personally committed to it, since I have felt blessed in my Spirit every time I have taken on this practice.

Lent is a divine invitation. Lent celebrates a God who is in all the creation, but is greater than the sum of the creation. Lent reminds us of both the transcendence and immanence of God. Most importantly, Lent reminds us of the reason we suffer. As my friend Nanette Sawyer wrote on Twitter this morning, "Coming from dust and returning to dust means I am related to all things, interconnected with all creation." As we are connected to God's spirit, we are connected to the entire creation, so we suffer with the brokenness of creation.

Lent focuses on Jesus. Jesus, or perhaps in this case Immanuel would be better, is the reason we suffer. In Jesus, God pitched his tent in the neighborhood of humanity. Jesus, the light from Light, a man filled by the very spirit God. Jesus suffered, because God's creation suffered. In Jesus, the incarnation, God suffered. Lent focuses on Jesus, lent focuses on suffering.

Suffering is not easy for those of caught in the strangle grip of affluence. The earth groans because of suffering. The womb of God feels every tear that falls from the eye of the sex worker, the creator shivers with every chill felt by the homeless, the earth longs for redemption, while the affluent sit by our fireplaces and ponder philosophy. Jesus following will reorient us.

My goal this Lenten season is to look at Jesus, to be reoriented to suffering. I will look at the commands of Jesus, the parables of Jesus, the blessing and curses of Jesus. I will not look at Jesus as an expert, a scholar, or a preacher, since I am none of those things. I will look at Jesus as a follower, as a friend, to be reoriented to the suffering that broke his heart, shaped his practice, and ultimately led to his demise. I will look to Jesus to be resurrected in practice to a new creation that proclaims hope, life, and release.

The Kingdom of God is Risen! Let Jubilee be sounded!

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