Lent is a time where we not only meditate on the event of the cross, but we participate in it.
The cross is the ultimate revelation of the love God has for humanity. At the cross, we discover the breadth and width and depth of the love of God and see that there is nothing that will stop God from loving us and being with us.
This is true, and that recognition is part of understanding the cross. But to participate in the cross is something different.
To participate in the cross, we agree with Jesus. To participate in the cross, we have to extend that kind of self-sacrificial love to all those whom Jesus extends it.
This is participation in the cross, because it can feel like a kind of death. Nowhere is this more poignantly articulated than when Jesus says:
“You have heard the law that says, ‘Love your neighbor’ and hate your enemy. But I say, love your enemies! Pray for those who persecute you! In that way, you will be acting as true children of your Father in heaven. For he gives his sunlight to both the evil and the good, and he sends rain on the just and the unjust alike. If you love only those who love you, what reward is there for that? Even corrupt tax collectors do that much. If you are kind only to your friends, how are you different from anyone else? Even pagans do that. But you are to be perfect, even as your Father in heaven is perfect.
These are difficult words.
But Lent is a time where we wrestle with them and discover what it means to choose with Christ to love the world. Join us this week as we wrestle with some of the implications of this radical love we participate in during Lent.