So busy doing the Lord’s work, forgot about the Lord.
Lent is a busy season that can have that effect on church workers.
It’s intended to be a forty day journey into the wilderness. By reflecting on our Lord’s Passion, and in particular on the guilt of sin that drove him to the cross and held him there, we visit the wilderness.
It’s a wilderness so deep and dark, there is no earthly hope of return.
It’s a journey that contemplates a hopeless, helpless figure nailed to a cross.
It’s a journey to a tomb, that’s found empty. Empty of a body.
But filled with hope. And peace. And joy.
Ministers of the Word are called upon to lead God’s children on that journey as an annual exercise of faith.
You can’t expect to lead others on a journey you have not first taken yourself.
To a certain degree, all proclamation of the Word is testimonial. First, preachers and teachers spend time in God’s Word, where it has it’s way with us, then we share it’s life-giving power with others.
If you haven’t already, take some time this week for your own Lenten journey, your retreat into the wilderness, to Calvary, to the tomb.
Before you get entirely absorbed in the busy-ness of preparation for Holy Week and Easter, break away for your own time to reflect, to confess, and to be renewed.
Maybe you can find a morning or an afternoon. It’s not being selfish. It’s preparation for leading others. Moses did. Elijah did. Paul did.
Ask the important questions.
What does God want his people to experience during this holy season?
What does he want them to know? What does he want them to become? What does he want them to do?
And then ask another important question: Have I?
In my thirty Lenten seasons in parish life, I confess that too often my own journey was little more than a quick dash into the edge of the wilderness, a cursory reflection on the Lord’s suffering and death for me, laced through with lots of extra worship planning and sermon preparation.
I remember a number of Good Fridays in worship with the Lord’s people where the power of the music and the Word caught me off guard. It almost seemed that Good Friday had snuck up on me.
Or that I had attempted to sneak up on a significant moment in our congregation’s life. I was unprepared to lead them in a journey I had not taken.
Consider this permission.
Put aside the tasks that are piling up, even for just a few short hours. Find a quiet time and place. Take your Bible. Take a note pad.
Explain to the office and the family why you’ll be out of touch for a while.
Visit the wilderness, the garden, the betrayal, the trial, the cross. And visit the tomb. The appearances.
Then lead others on their journeys.
Thanks for reading.