I heard a great little homily yesterday morning. I suspect the priest didn’t think he was being particularly inspiring, but I was encouraged and moved by his words. In less than two minutes he reminded us very powerfully that our faith is not a project or a programme. Our faith is about relationship.
Christianity is about relationship.
This is good news for us because the one thing that healthy people seek above all else is to live in relationship, not just with one life partner in marriage, but in friendship with a few close friends as well as many colleagues. We are made to live in relationship.
The priest emphasised that the relationship that comes first is our relationship with God. All human relationships become possible because of this one relationship. The gospel passages in these days from John remind us of the centrality of Jesus’ relationship with his Father. For Jesus everything flowed from that one central relationship. The same is true for us.
And that is the heart of purpose of the season of Lent. In today’s scriptures the plotters are at work seeking to destroy those who are just. In the gospel the plotting against Jesus is well underway, simply because he said “You know me and also know where I am from. Yet I did not come on my own, but the one who sent me, whom you do not know, is true. I know him, because I am from him, and he sent me.”
At times we may experience the vulnerability of the just as others become uncomfortable simply because we are trying to follow Jesus. This is the life of faith and our friends remind us that we are not alone.
An Invitation: You might like use this prayer today, a prayer for Lent written by Henri Nouwen.
The Lenten season.
It is a time to be with you, Lord, in a special way, a time to pray, to fast, and thus to follow you on your way to Jerusalem, to Golgotha, and to the final victory over death.
I am still so divided. I truly want to follow you, but I also want to follow my own desires and lend an ear to the voices that speak about prestige, success, pleasure, power, and influence. Help me to become deaf to these voices and more attentive to your voice, which calls me to choose the narrow road to life.
I know that Lent is going to be a very hard time for me. The choice for your way has to be made every moment of my life. I have to choose thoughts that are your thoughts, words that are your words, and actions that are your actions. There are not times or places without choices. And I know how deeply I resist choosing you.
Please, Lord, be with me at every moment and in every place. Give me the strength and the courage to live this season faithfully, so that, when Easter comes, I will be able to taste with joy the new life that you have prepared for me. Amen.