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Stewardship of the Goodnews

Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight and the sin that clings so closely,* and let us run with perseverance the race that is set before us, 2looking to Jesus the pioneer and perfecter of our faith, who for the sake of* the joy that was set before him endured the cross, disregarding its shame, and has taken his seat at the right hand of the throne of God. (Hebrews 12:1-2)

As we prepare for another new season, the season of Lent, I have been struggling on how to approach this time treasured season with new eyes of faith, so that I can deepen in that faith.  Lent is a time racked with traditions; “giving up” vices, “adding” new virtues, Midweek Church services, even $2 filet-o-fish sandwiches.  Somehow I feel like I “know” this season to well to let God further make and mold me through it.  That being said, I found an article written by a Pastor at a Prison, which just might help me see Lent in a more helpful way this year:

“Prison is always Lent; the barbed wire is reminiscent of a crown of thorns, the armed towers the cross.  Everything surrounding a man in prison reminds him how much he has screwed up and how much control the state has over any given man.  A man realizes how little he has control over his environment in prison; he is told when to eat, sleep, go to the bathroom, whether he can have medical attention, where he can go of course, and if under death penalty when to stop breathing.  The prison context always lifts up faith and forgiveness from any text we read, regardless of the season.  It’s that trust thing again.  Faith is always a risk and requires trust, and of course my guys have broken trust left and right in their lives as well as being on the receiving end of a lot of broken promises.  Through forgiveness they can begin again to build trust with others, knowing God has forgiven them and trusts them when society will not.”

 What if this year Lent becomes a place where we can truly hear that message of forgiveness, through “any text we read”?  What if we try to push off all those broken promises we have made and start fresh with the Promise that God is here for us?  What if this lent we forgive, once for all, those who have sinned against us, so that their sin no longer holds us back?  What if we look to Jesus this Lent, the perfecter of our faith, and lay aside every weight and the sin that clings so closely, in order that we can run the race that is set before us?  I don’t know the answers to those questions, and I acknowledge that these things are much more complicated that they may seem, but I would love to begin to find the answers with you, this Lent.                                

~Matthew Rose, Pastor