Imagine what it must have been like being Mary and Joseph and parenting the young Jesus. Imagine that you are a cousin of Jesus and you know his true identity even when you are both children. Imagine that you are a Roman soldier charged with killing anyone who is a threat to the Roman Empire and King Herod. How would you respond?
Lent has this tendency to surprise me. It seems to just come out of nowhere. And with little less than a week away from Ash Wednesday, I find myself in the same situation.
Each year I embark on Lent as some great adventure that will help me encounter God in new and surprising ways. As I'm still discerning what practices to take on this Lent, the theme of mercy has piqued my interest. With all the lively buzz around the Jubilee Year of Mercy, I want this Lent to reflect this important time. Not that mercy isn't important during other times of the year, but this Jubilee Year is an important reminder of the challenge of being a Christian. It's about giving and loving when it's inconvenient. It's about not counting the cost in serving others. It's about recognizing Jesus in every person we meet.
On New Year’s Eve we are all excited about our resolutions and promises to make this year the best yet. Well, it’s almost the end of January and how many of us have stuck to our resolutions? In my opinion, that’s the problem with resolutions; they are hard to keep. In fact, they may even cause us more stress because we set our expectations so high and then when we don’t keep our resolutions we feel like a failure. Resolution sounds a lot like the big “c” word – commitment and we all know that we don’t have time to commit to one more activity in our busy lives. In fact, the very word “resolution” actually means “to make a firm decision to do or not do something or the action of solving a problem.” Thus, to set a resolution each year declares that there is something broken in our lives and we need to fix it.