THE ORIGINAL CONGREGATIONAL CHURCH
Dear Beloved of God,
We have entered the season of Lent, and with it comes also the way to the season of spring. Early flowers emerging from the cold earth are signs that a season of growth is up ahead. In springtime the world is being transformed from dormancy to new life. The life energy that God has placed in our spirit at birth is about to be born again—if only we can embrace the changes and the challenges that this new formation brings!
Lent is traditionally the season we are invited to turn again to the Lord in prayer, contemplative practice and in acts of compassionate service. These intentional practices reveal the divine Spirit within us already! In 2 Corinthians 3:18 we hear, “when one turns to the Lord and beholds the glory of the Lord, we are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. Where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.” Our “God-selves” are set free when we practice our faith!
There is a wonderful illustration in a story of the great sculptor Michelangelo. One time a little child was watching the sculptor working with a hammer and chisel on a large block of marble. The pieces of stone large and small went flying. The child had no idea what was happening. Returning to the studio a few weeks later there was a great surprise. Sitting where the block of marble had stood was a powerful lion! The child ran to the sculptor and said, “How did you know there was a lion in the marble?”
Can we be like the child? Can we be like the sculptor? Can we be the stone that is chipped away at until our inner spiritual lion is revealed?
Faith is about transformation and Lent is a season that invites us to see that our loving God with all our heart and loving our neighbor as ourselves reveals the lion within our soul. A beautiful soul is one that has been shaped by hardships and yet shines out with a surprising joy.
Practicing religion has such a contested reputation these days. Is that because they are wrong headed or because they are hard to do? What if the sculptor didn’t begin chipping away at the stone because it was too hard? What if the child didn’t return to see what had been revealed in the stone? This Lent, if you hear a calling to begin, or to return to look, don’t resist the urge!
May the God who turns winter into springtime reveal the joy of faith in your inner heart!