Lent in the Shadow of the New Jerusalem.
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“On no day will its gates ever be shut, for there will be no night there.”
Revelation 21:25, New International Version
Still in Lent, it may seem odd to look ahead to John’s vision of the Temple in the New Jerusalem. But remember, this is a Sunday and the Sundays in Lent are not part of Lent. It’s a technicality, I know, but I’m employing it anyway. Regardless, I am convinced that we cannot experience our Lenten journey in a vacuum. Not a Biblical vacuum. Not a spiritual vacuum. Not a faith-and-knowledge vacuum. Certainly, we cannot experience our Lenten journey in a Revelation vacuum.
Our God is not a good secret-keeper. We may think so occasionally, but that is usually a matter of our inability to see and understand. He tells us there is a mystery, and then he tells us what the mystery is! Jesus, God’s not-so-mysterious mystery. Our Jesus. Our Lenten Jesus, whose footsteps we are tracing once again.
To what end are we following Jesus? Misery, not mystery? To kneel in sackcloth and ashes and so feel righteous? Are we following him to lamentation and despair? Your clamorous “NO” rings loud in my ears as I write this, before you read these words.
We follow Jesus on the Lenten road, eventually to be led once again by ancient Sisters and Mothers to an empty tomb. The stone was rolled away. Not even the grave is shut to the Revelation of God’s intentions for us in, and through, his Christ. Not even our grave is shut — although it is still before us, this is already true. As one who battles depression and depressive manners of thinking and responding to the world and life in it, these truths are precious. I hope they are every bit as precious to you.
Nothing about our God is shut to you. And since we are children of God, sisters and brothers of his (and our) Christ, nothing about us is shut either. Are you closed up today? Shut in by your own devices? Remember your Lenten journey’s inevitable end—see through the open door to the heart of God, beating for you.
Text and picture copyright Don Schatz