The Rev. Jan Tjaden, First Congregational UCC, Orchard
During Lent we look behind the events of the day to the meaning. Even when things look thoroughly dingy, we can find the special message that God has for us.
I like the story that is told by the manager of one of the most expensive clothing stores in the country.
“Some years ago a shabby, dirty woman walked into our fur department. She really looked tough. Finally a clerk took her into a fitting room, I guess because she didn’t want to scare away any real customers.
“She said she wanted a brown coat. She picked out a beautiful sable and pulled a roll of bills out of the top of her stocking. She paid $45,000 cash and walked out of the store with the coat. Nobody here will ever forget that!”
Lent is the lead-up to God’s great surprise, if only we are willing to look for it. We need to look.
Did you ever go for a walk with a young child? Beside the boundless energy of the youngster, you probably noticed how he or she was always looking at things and discovering in the dead leaves and trees and bugs and dogs things that you had never noticed.
Jesus said, “Unless you turn and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.” (Matthew 18:3.)
How true of things in this world and in the world of the spirit as well.
We adults have a more difficult time because we became spiritually nearsighted as we grew up. We may know more about God and his work, but we seem to understand it less.
God expressed his caring love by sending Jesus. It seemed to the religious adult world that he would be just another spiritual teacher, one who taught dangerous things. It was the open and childlike at heart who seemed to hear him most willingly.
It was the adults who killed him, people who were too spiritually blind to see what really was.
Lent, then, is the time to become childlike in our openness to discovery. Pray for that openness and you will find yourself blessed by Lent. Let God show you your own sins and the way to freedom.