God walked on the earth in the human form of Jesus the Messiah. By His life and death and resurrection, God accomplished His plan to redeem creation and establish the kingdom of God “on earth as it is in heaven.” The Old Testament came to life, sermons of the prophets stopped being spoken and were lived in real time, theological arguments of centuries came clear, and spiritual fragments started coming together to make a whole. Religious symbolism of the Temple was now lived out in the souls of humanity in a new spiritual place with new rules and a new hope and a new King.
Christians found that persecution drives us deeper into a spiritual relationship with God. God taught us that He replaces every wound and every hurt with His joy and peace that confuses the world and puts us in the company of prophets, apostles, martyrs and saints of all the ages. And – heaven applauds! Suffering, we find, gives us an intense understanding of Christ’s suffering and draws us nearer to the sacrifice for our redemption.
The Messiah taught us to be the salt of the earth – to bring out the goodness of His creation, to add the flavor of God’s grace to those caught in the blandness of depression and hopelessness. Our vocation as believers is to make the difference in how people see life when God is a part of it.
Jesus told us to be the light. We are to reflect God’s image to the world so people can see God’s face. We are to show how the light of God’s presence can overcome the darkness of dread and fear and hate that sin breeds. We are to shine light to chase away meanness and oppression that lurk in the shadows of life. We are here to illuminate the dark nights and mirror God’s mercy to all his people.
During Lent God’s people remember that throughout centuries of tragedy, love shines. Throughout all the heartbreak of war, peace rises. Throughout the blood of millions of martyrs, truth pours out. Throughout the sleepless nights of fear and danger, hope glows. Throughout the loneliness of isolation and helplessness, Presence embraces. Throughout all of life’s journey, forgiveness like a never ending stream flows from the throne of God.