Do you ever think of Lent as Spiritual Rehab? I think there is an argument for it.
Rehab, of course, is working on the parts of us that are weak, either from injury or wear and tear. We focus on that broken part to make it strong again. Rehab comes in all kinds of flavors: Physical, Emotional, Psychological and of yes, spiritual.
This week in the lectionary, one of the scripture came from John 3:14-21, which includes that almost ubiquitous verse, John 3:16. We Christians love John 3:16. It sums up so much of the good news for us. It is a verse that reminds us of God’s love (“God so loved the world..”), and his sacrifice (“That he gave his only begotten son.”) and the reward (“that we might have eternal life.”). No wonder it is one of such a small group of verses that most of us know by heart!
But we forget sometimes the context of John 3:16. Jesus is talking to Nicodemus, that Pharisee and member of the religious council who came to Jesus in the night because he knew that for all his learning and all his religion, something was missing. And Jesus reminded him what. He had lost the heart of the gospel, God’s love, in all the rigamarole and rules. And the only way for Nicodemus to get back to where he needed to be spiritually was to fill his heart with this message of God’s love for him. He needed….. spiritual rehab.
We often need the same spiritual rehab. Life beats up on our faith and our spirituality. A tumultuous world. A society that largely does not believe or act on their belief in God. A media that distracts us from time with God. We are a battered people. By the time Easter rolls around, it’s impossible for one day to lift our spirits. And so… we have lent, a 40 day season of remembering and introspection. A 40 day period of prayer, and opening ourselves to the miracle of the resurrection, and what it means for us. Anything we might give up is secondary. The real power in lent is spending more time remembering and drawing closer to the God that loves us.
Lent is not over. If you are not spending extra time each day talking with God, there’s time. He’s right next to you, waiting. ready to start rehab.
Have a blessed week!