Mar 18

Theologian and philosopher, Blaise Pascal once said that wars would cease if occasionally people could only sit quietly alone in their rooms.

If Pascal meant that our task as followers of Christ was to prayerfully reflect on who we are before God, and what God does for us at Easter, then I agree with him. But as we head towards another Easter, we could be forgiven for thinking that too few people really know God’s love and peace.

The time before Easter, the season of Lent, is a time of preparation for the church. Traditionally it has been a season where candidates ready themselves to be baptized into the faith on Easter Sunday. It was common for the candidates to knock on the door of the church to have the priest ask the question, “What do you seek?” The answer would come back, “New life in Christ.” The candidates would then be invited into the church to be placed in the midst of the congregation, highlighting that they are received into the community of faith.

If only more people would be welcomed into communities and know that they are loved by fellow human beings and by God! If only those who know God’s love would find the courage to sit quietly before God and allow God’s love to purify their hearts, souls and desires.

Lent and Easter are regular seasons on our Christian calendars, not because Jesus needs to die again and again, but because our process of purification is a lifelong one. It is easy to seek “New life in Christ”, but much more difficult to let go of revenge, or to let go of the lust for power, wealth and domination. This is why Lenten reflection is as important to us as it is to first-time baptismal candidates.

But until that time when all wars cease, Pascal provokes us to sit quietly in our rooms. This Lent and at other times we are called to consider who we are as God’s creatures, and who we are as people in this complex web of humanity and creation. And at this point of reflection we are reminded again how important Easter is to us. ‘For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish but have eternal life.

Sitting alone to genuinely consider who we are before God takes great courage. But once we know just how much God loves us, we are given what we need to allow God into the depths of our hearts and souls. Once we allow God to touch us deeply, it is time to right the prejudices, the hatred, and the parts of us that are wounded. And if we allow God’s love to touch us deeply, we are far less likely to dump our wounded nature onto others. Knowing that we belong in God’s love, knowing that we have life forever in God’s name, knowing that we belong in God’s community will transform the world towards Pascal’s vision for peace.

Please immerse yourself in God’s community knowing that you have a place to belong. And please immerse yourself in quiet reflection or prayer that you may fully know God’s Easter gift for you. And together we will find ‘new life in Christ’.

Blessings, Rev. Arnie