Ash Wednesday. Valentine’s Day. 2018 Being Jesus’ Beloved

The season of Lent, the 40 days of journeying toward Easter and the celebration of new life and new beginning, begins today on Valentine’s Day and ends on April’s Fool Day. I am not unique in pointing this out, but I am needing to rest in the coincidence of these holidays.

Often on Ash Wednesday we begin with the marking of ashes. I do believe that the act of receiving ashes-if you do attend an Ash Wednesday service —is an important moment to acknowledge our need for God, our dependence on God and to remember that we are the created and God is the Creator.

But, this year as we travel from Valentine’s Day to April Fools Day—from the beginning of Lent to Easter — I invite you to bear another mark. Beginning today, I invite you to journey with me, to pause, and to take time each day during these days of Lent to claim our true identity in Jesus with the name Jesus took as his own and bestows upon us — Beloved.

Too often, if our view of God is distorted and our views of ourselves are warped, we can spend the next forty days attempting to earn our way to the cross and to show our worth through our efforts, our giving up, and our focus on our sin. Yet, once again, we discover we fall short because we are not perfect and there is no way to earn the grace of Jesus.

Wherever you are today, will you join me to begin the first day (and second, and third…). of Lent claiming this name, BELOVED, and journeying toward Easter willing to be a FOOL enough to daily say that Jesus, not the world,  tells me who I am? And, from my belovedness where will I be a risky fool for God and help others know they are beloved? This may involve giving up a bad habit of being hard on yourself or re-framing your time to take time each morning to say, “Jesus, as your beloved, how would you desire me to be this day?”

While recently in Colombia I was asked to preach at Cristhian Gomez’ church, Primera Iglesia.  I felt compelled to give this sermon on Being Jesus’ Beloved. (Some say that there is one sermon in each of us…Perhaps this is my one sermon.)

Also, here are some resources I am finding helpful for Lent.  What are resources that you find helpful for our journey toward Jerusalem and the saving grace of Jesus?

Lent Resources

Brueggeman, Walter,  A Way other than Our Own: Devotions for Lent

Rohr, Richard, Wondrous Encounters: Scripture for Lent

Sine, Christine, A Journey Into Wholeness: Daily Reflections for Lent

Weems, Ann,   Kneeling in Jerusalem

Please note our Lenten Personal Reflection & Prayer on February 24.  Hope you can join us!