I was reflecting this week on how great themes can be – they allow us to really dig into one subject area. We have chosen Radical Hospitality to focus on during Lent, and each week we have a different characteristic of this theme. But, I also began to worry this week – Lent in itself is a theme – an important one at that – and maybe the catchy theme of Radical Hospitality has led us away from the challenging work of following Jesus to the cross.
What if we get to Good Friday and we haven’t reflected deeply enough, we haven’t explored the ways in which we need to be restored, we haven’t taken a look at the temptations in our own lives? Sigh. We will have failed at Lent!
Lent commemorates Jesus’ 40 days of being tempted by the devil in the desert. Maybe next year we’ll just read that passage over and over again each week and sink deeper and deeper into what it means to be tempted and to turn to God, instead of ourselves, for our safety, our strength, our release from temptation. Okay, 2024 Lenten theme is set!
That still leaves us here … now.
How is your Lenten journey going? Is the theme of Radical Hospitality giving you the chance to reflect on your own behaviours and temptations; and reflect on your ability to turn to God to change your ways?
This week the theme is “Authentic Acceptance.” What is this anyway? And does it mean something different to each of us? On the surface we might read it to mean that we accept someone for who they are. Digging deeper I wonder about its connection to “love thy neighbour.” Jesus says love your neighbour as yourself. To me that means we can only love someone else to the extent that we love ourselves; we can only see someone else as a child of God to the depth we see ourselves as God’s beloved. What if part of the theme of Authentic Acceptance is being able to authentically accept ourselves in order to authentically accept someone else? Perhaps our acceptance of the other is only as deep as we can truly (authentically) accept ourselves.
Okay, so maybe we aren’t so far off The theme that is LENT. Phew!
If part of our journey this week is to learn how to authentically accept self IN ORDER TO accept other, then that’s going to bring up all sorts of aspects of our own selves that we may not want to admit to or look at – temptations to which we have succumbed, outbursts from which we faultily found release, control which we held onto instead of surrendering to God.
I hope we all get to Good Friday ready to release all sorts temptations and hang ups so that we can kneel at the foot of the cross with hearts ready to be restored, and lives ready to be filled with God’s love, God’s will and God’s purpose. Amen.