Abiding with God means setting up a house, not stopping in for a quick visit every once in awhile.
Modern humanity has dedicated so much time, energy, and money to security so why do we feel less and less safe every day? We try to gain wealth only to have it wiped out in a downturn, we develop a nuclear arsenal only to discover that other countries now have the same capabilities for destruction as we do, we have the most advanced medical system in the world only to learn that there are bugs and diseases not even that system can defeat. When we put on our lenses of realism and look at the level of anxiety this pursuit of security has given us and then we must stand shoulder to should and admit defeat… we have failed.
None of our own efforts can save the world on their own. What will is a faith founded on the grace, mercy, and peace of God. Can you imagine, my friends, what a world populated by people that take life on life’s terms, while striving to always be dwelling with God our Creator, might look like?
You are Invited.
So, in these 40 days of Lent, I invite you to practice this sense of grace, mercy, and peace. One of the old practices of Lent has been to “give up” something like chocolate.
But this year I would invite you to give up something a bit more intangible. Can we, for 40 days, give up judgment, anxiety, and prejudice? Can we put aside the usual tendencies each of us has to live where we are most comfortable and, instead, dwell with God? Can we find the grace to walk in our neighbor’s experience of life for five weeks? To do so requires the addition of the practice of prayer and devotion to God. Let us use this time to explore the lamentations, the joys, the hymns, and the struggles of the Psalms so that we might give up all of those things that separate us from God, each other, and our world. Psalm 91 is a traditional Psalm used to start Lent precisely because it demands we skip the usual self-help Lenten plans and, instead, practice genuine self-denial by practicing, for five short weeks, the kind of radical trust we read here today.