A quick note to readers: I have really been challenged by the writing from our New Leafers in this series on Lent. If you haven’t had a chance to read other posts in this series please go back and give it all a look. You won’t be sorry you did.
The point of the Lenten season is to prepare us spiritually for the events of Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, and Easter Sunday. These three days are the pinnacle of the Christian calendar. They point us each year to the God who makes the first move. Before we have it figured out, before we can explain it and file it into tidy boxes, often before we’re even sure we want it — God steps into the middle of this world and makes the first move.Often before we’re even sure we want it — God steps into the middle of this world and makes the first move. Click To Tweet
This year as I approach this weekend I am distinctly aware of the ways that I have needed God to step into the middle of my life and leadership. I am also keenly aware that many times God has had to step in despite my forgetting to extend an invitation. This is not fun to admit in a public forum but it’s true. We noticed this as the New Leaf team too. As a team, we can get so focused on to do lists, meetings, deadlines, and planning events that we actually forget to ask God for help.
In this regard, we aren’t so different from our neighbours. My Canadian neighbours go weeks, months, and (in increasing numbers) even lifetimes without noticing their need for God. As I have engaged in Lenten practices this year God has been inviting me to remember how much I forget. He has also invited me to notice that He cares enough for me and my team to not wait for an invitation. He is loving enough to make the first move and gracious enough to wait for us to catch up.
This Easter weekend I, along with my church community, will bear witness to the baptism stories of people who have encountered the living Jesus. One of the people taking the sacred plunge this Sunday is a good friend who met Jesus just this year. His story is like that of so many Canadians: his life and self-worth got ground up in the gears of the rat race. He learned to measure the value of his life on the dishonest scales of a Canadian consumerist society. Jesus made the first move and showed him another way. One of the other people getting baptized this weekend is my son. God has shown up for him in some difficult and unexpected places in his life this year. Time and time again God proved more than willing to make the first move.
Take heart friends, we may more often than we ought, forget to invite God to the party. We may also find ourselves living among neighbours who go weeks, months, and (in increasing numbers) even lifetimes without noticing their need for God. But God isn’t waiting around. He is always making the first move.