By now we have a handle on the Lenten truth: We have messed up and will continue to mess up. Original Sin, the theological concept that tells us that we humans are not as good as we imagine, is one doctrine that doesn’t require faith. During Lent we set ourselves up, by temptation and self-examination, to see that we are no exception to the rule.
Once you’ve realized that you aren’t all that, but are in fact far from perfect or even from doing the best possible, you’re ready to move on from Lent. Guilt, limitations, hopelessness, despair or even boredom–if you’ve experienced any of these in the last 40 days, Lent has done its job. If you haven’t–quick, find yourself an irresistible temptation! You don’t have long!
No time to waste because self-awareness was never the Lenten goal. Our purpose is to get ready to celebrate Easter. Lent prepares us for Easter by demonstrating that we cannot find hope in ourselves. Progress, innate goodness, strength–we have these in limited quantities. We need a savior.
Easter, obviously, celebrates that savior. What keeps us from celebrating is the gap between what we know to be true, i.e. Lent and our limitations, and what we hope or wish to be true, i.e. Christ’s promise of life’s victory. In order to bridge that gap, we come to the end of our efforts and trust God to take it from there. In other words, we bridge the gap through faith.
Imagine you are an exception to the Good News. Where are you not good enough, faithful enough, worthy enough to be invited into God’s presence?
Nothing to prove here, but something to experience: The Good News of Christ is about him: about what he does, not our ability to follow, understand, or in any way deserve it. The only thing we can do: put down the barriers.
We have one last preparation to make for Easter. In this last week, take a moment to identify the places where you imagine you are an exception to the Good News. Where are you not good enough, faithful enough, worthy enough to be invited into God’s presence? During Holy Week your job is to offer those places of darkness, trusting Christ to bridge the gap. Write down your doubts and limits. Bring them to the Holy Week services of Good Friday or the Vigil. Then watch as those limitations go up in smoke, leaving behind only Christ’s invitation and the faith to receive.
Then, in faith, we are ready to celebrate. Good News: Life Wins!