When people decide it is too difficult and disappointing to follow Jesus, he asks those still with him, “Do you also wish to go away?” Peter’s response is “To whom else can we go? You have the words of eternal life" (John 6:68).
Perhaps Jesus had not met expectations or provided the quick solution they desired. Jesus did not magically lift them from the complex maze of their daily lives. He did not pull unending loaves of bread out of his pocket, but instead offered himself as the living bread. Jesus invited them to trust that he is the daily nourishment and guidance they need because he IS God’s presence. I AM the bread of life, Jesus says.
In a moment of clarity, Peter gets it: Jesus, I will stick with you. What are any other true options? You are the one who brings deep, lasting life. I will stick with you.
The literal meaning of Lent is “lengthening.” Just as the daylight lasts longer each day as we move toward Spring, Lent is a season to intentionally seek a space – a “lengthening” space in our daily lives to examine this question: To whom else can we go for deep, lasting life? (While giving something up for Lent is the traditional practice, I do find that intentionally taking on a new practice might be the more positive response, especially a practice that takes me out of my comfortable patterns. Maybe the better question each day needs to be: what will help create space, awaken my senses and help me face unmet expectations and live each day differently and more alert?)
In the maze of life, we are enticed down many paths that lead to dead-ends. Jesus does not promise to lift us out of the maze but instead promises to lead us through the maze, meeting us daily and relevantly. Lent is a space that invites us to intentionally and honestly ask ourselves, “Will I trust Jesus?”
We need these 40 lengthening days of Lent to recognize the ways that we are forgetful, to name misplaced loyalties and to focus afresh on our need for a Savior so that Easter, the celebration of the resurrection, can break into our lives as God’s earth-shattering, world-redeeming, hope-infused reality of new life -- a new life for all of humanity and a new life that invites us into reconciling relationships with one another. Where else can we go for deep, lasting life?