February 25

“In those days, at that time,” declares the Lord, “search will be made for Israel’s guilt, but there will be none, and for the sins of Judah, but none will be found, for I will forgive.”  Jeremiah 50:20

“We even boast in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation.”  Romans 5:11

As we look forward to warmer sun, longer daylight, Spring and new life, the Christian church is looking ahead to Lent – mid-week worship, reflection on the sacrifice of Jesus Christ, and redemption through God’s grace – new life!

For some, Lent is a time of personal sacrifice as a sign of solidarity with Jesus’ 40-day journey in the wilderness and ultimate sacrifice.  For the most part these sacrifices – soda, chocolate, alcohol, meat, and so on are finite and intentionally resumed after 40 days.  It’s hard to permanently leave behind bad habits and demeanor, conveniences and cravings that bring us pleasure.   

There will be no sins found … reconciliation is now received.  The “deed” is done.  Personal sacrifice can prompt a mindset and heightened awareness of Jesus’ willingness to live amongst us and to suffer on our behalf, the love of God for humanity.  But forgiveness and reconciliation with God is not earned by our own sacrifices, but by that of Jesus Christ.  God does not require burnt offerings, rivers of oil, or my first born for my transgressions … God gave his first and only. What God does require of us is action … to DO justice, to LOVE kindness, and to WALK humbly with God.  This Lent, rather than resolve to give something up, I might resolve to ADD to each day … deliberate thoughtfulness of others, including giving something for them; more quiet time for prayer; noticing something beautiful in nature; giving thanks for at least five people and five other blessings – each day – and beyond 40 days, a sacrifice of praise and thanksgiving.

Loving God, in our worship this weekend we acknowledged that “we are saved, not by anything we have done, but by God’s mercy poured out on us richly … Through the Spirit living in[us], give [us] faith to trust Jesus, who is Love born for [us].”  Amen

Verla Olson