Today is the Fifth Sunday of Lent. A reflection from Fleming Rutledge’s book, The Crucifixion:
Sin cannot be overcome by human determination, human capacity, or human more resolve. It is false and misleading, and untrue to human nature, to continue to think of Sin in terms of individual, avoidable acts or failures to act. Sin and its cohort, Death, rule over the Kosmos as semi-autonomous Powers. This, however, is not the way we Americans ordinarily think. We believe that we can resist Sin (not that we call it that!) by “making good choice,” and Death we keep at bay simply by not thinking about it, or by domesticating it. The biblical story places us correctly within a completely different worldview.”
I think often of the Albert Finney character in the movie, Amazing Grace, as he writes about his sins in his autobiography. He says to Wilberforce he knows two things: “I am a great sinner and Christ is a great Savior.”
I began this Lenten season in Israel and truthfully my observation of this season has been very different. I have not looked to fasting. I have looked to surrender. I have looked to areas of spiritual reformation in my own life. I have been reading through Gospels in this season and hope to read John this week as I finish. I have also come to this conclusion in Lent this year: What I am to surrender is myself. All of me. Fully. And my flesh rebels! Surrender is an easy word to say. It is exceedingly difficult to execute in life.
For Lent, the work has been to give up myself. To give myself over to him. This will be the journey of resurrection in the Easter season as well.
Almighty God, you alone can bring into order the unruly wills and affections of sinners: Grant your people grace to love what you command and desire what you promise; that, among the swift and varied changes of this world, our hearts may surely there be fixed where true joys are to be found; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. AMEN