What a week.
The second impeachment trial of Donald Trump. (Just sit on that thought for a few seconds.)
The diehard evangelical support of the previous president soldiers on.
Also in the mix, more stories about Hillsong NYC and the failure of Carl Lentz.
Heavy doesn’t even begin to cover it. I have certainly known my own failure in my own life. I have been in bad places in my life that came close to ruinous. Yet, I am struck by the thought that in those incredibly dark times, I found grace… as I walked in repentance. I could have refused grace. There is marked in my life one particular night when I absolutely knew what it would mean to walk away from everything and it is singularly the most frightening night of my life.
I do not write this out of self-righteousness, but a profound awareness that I have known failure and then found the mercy of God as I repented.
In this time I am also dealing with my own regret and ignorance. With regard to ministry abuse like Zacharias, there were a few times years ago when I tried to advocate for women who had been sexually harassed in our denomination and I was met with silence. Today I look back at the profound ignorance in my own life. Ministry leaders I had trusted did not respond to my inquiries. And year after year I trusted their leadership. The 2021 me looks back on the 2008 me and says, “What a doofus!” (And the 2008 me shouts back, “HEY! A little heads up would be nice!”)
Lent approaches. The time of deep reflection to prepare us for Resurrection.
A season of reflection and repentance that would be so key for the American Church in this time. Yet, that is exactly what will not happen. The bus to Babylon is being boarded and there is no getting off that trip unless massive repentance with fasting is called for by some major church leaders. No such calls exist.
Lent approaches. While one option is to be angry with the American church for ignoring all this mess we’ve made… I cannot take that option.
Daniel living in Babylon could have blamed Israel for the mess they made and had put HIM in Babylon. He chose another path. It was one of repentance and a cry for mercy and he included himself in that equation.
This season needs to be for the American Church. Yet, this season is for me. I cannot wait for intransigent leaders to get a clue. My own life needs adjusting as well.
Today is Transfiguration Sunday. One of the passages is Elijah at Mt. Horeb and he hears the voice of God in the quiet. The Common English Bible is my favorite wording of that event:
The Lord said, “Go out and stand at the mountain before the Lord. The Lord is passing by.” A very strong wind tore through the mountains and broke apart the stones before the Lord. But the Lord wasn’t in the wind. After the wind, there was an earthquake. But the Lord wasn’t in the earthquake. After the earthquake, there was a fire. But the Lord wasn’t in the fire. After the fire, there was a sound. Thin. Quiet. (1 Kings 19:11-12)
Lent is the time of a sound. Thin. Quiet. It is tempting to look for the dynamic. But the Lord is found in the thin places. Lent is here to tune my heart to that voice.
It’s a heavy week. It’s a heavy time. Thankfully, a time of reflection is afforded us. Ash Wednesday awaits.