There is a moment you stand on the brink, or the brink stands on you. The inexorable draw pulls you in, like gravity, like…
In this mysterious moment, known to history as “the Transfiguration,” Jesus reveals to the disciples his true nature. And to their shock, his true nature is the glory of God shining from his face. Present with the disciples, and beholding the same incredible sight, is Moses, the prophet who had asked on Mt. Sinai to see God’s glory. Only now, on Mt. Tabor, does he get what he hoped for. Only in Jesus does he see God face to face.
We can’t run
from this. No matter how powerful, wealthy, famous, or holy we are, we are ashes. No matter how great of an influencer on social media we are, we are
ashes. No matter how big a church we are part of, we are ashes. We are ashes. We are broken. We are sinful.
This realization of brokenness is one of the greatest gifts we can ever receive.
Lent brings with it a unique dynamic that emphasizes both the individual and the communal nature of our life together.
No one is beyond being confronted with the blinding light of Christ, in this world or the next.
A celebration of Easter without a prior descent into the grave is dishonest and naïve, just as observing Lent without the uncompromising proclamation of the Resurrection is hopeless.
Lent is a season of clarity. We already sit among the ashes. We already sit in cities made in our own image.
We are both sinners and saints, dust and treasure, limited but with tremendous potential, fallen but loved.
We fast to clear away the noise and the pain and the hurt. We fast to tune our hearts to his grace. We fast, even in the midst of our pain and brokenness, not to be torn down.
No, we fast to be built up. To be reminded of what matters and where life is found. We fast so that our ears can properly hear that voice of God, calling out to us.
These hymns, like the psalms, come from or speak to different experiences – some quite specific, others more general – and they express a wide variety of feelings toward God, ranging from thanksgiving and adoration to supplication to bitter grief. The hymn I came upon that had a reference to Jesus weeping was under the heading of “For a Child in the Small-Pox.” In the midst of what would have been an agonizing time for the parents as they prayed through tears that God might bring healing to their child, Charles offered lyrics that help us to embrace this sort of grief and to not hold back in pouring out our hearts to God.