Well, this is it. Holy Week. We are approaching the anniversary of the most important event in history. A moment that shook the world. An event that changes us on a very personal level. I came into Lent wanting to focus on God. To work on our relationship. And yet I feel like I’ve been drifting. I gave up chocolate and beer, which now just seems like such a hollow sacrifice. How did that happen? I really didn’t realize it until now. I had such good intentions. How did I lose my focus? Why do I feel I’ve failed? Did I let the business of the world drown out God’s voice?
It reminds me of a time many years ago on my honeymoon. We rented a two-person sail boat in a beautiful, romantic, quiet, little cove. The sail boat was tied to a buoy and we had to swim out about 50 yards to get to it. We climbed on board and I set about putting the gear together. Everything went fine until I reached the actual mast and sail. I quickly realized this boat was different from any other sail boat I had worked on (which was just one). I became frustrated as I worked on the tackle. My wife said something and I replied, “yes, yes, whatever.” Finally, I realized I was not going to get the darned thing to work and dropped everything in exasperation. I looked up and realized we were several hundred yards from shore and drifting out to sea. I looked at my wife and said, “IWhat have you done?” She replied, “I asked you if I should untie us from the buoy and you said yes.” Thankfully, we were rescued and we (and our marriage) survived and became stronger. I learned several valuable lessons that day. When my wife speaks, I listen. And I am not a multi-tasker. If I want to hear what she is saying, I have to stop what I am doing and listen.
It’s the same with God. If I really want to work on my relationship with God, I need to set aside time for God. Time for prayer, time for scripture or simply time to just sit and listen. My Lent has kind of been like the disciples’ Last Supper. Jesus is showing me, but I’m not taking the time to see it. Jesus has laid out a banquet before me and I sit at the feast crying out that I’m starving for truth. So, now, as we approach Easter, I have a choice. I can beat myself up over Lent or I can repent and do better. I can be Judas, recognize my screw up and just quit. Or I can be Peter, recognize my screw up, ask for forgiveness and move forward to a better relationship and greater things. Not much of a choice when you think about it. And what a gift it is to have that choice.
This is what it is all about. Jesus loves us. Jesus wants a relationship with us. Jesus died so that our sins can be forgiven. Jesus rescues us. The gift of salvation. What an incredibly freeing thing. My prayer today is for those of us who are struggling with our relationship with God. That we will recognize and accept this gift. That we will not allow the distractions of the world to steal our joy. Have a blessed and happy Easter.
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