Are you ready for ‘March Madness’
Are you ready for “March Madness?” I am talking about the penitential season of Lent. The journey through Lent that some denominations recognize and travel. For those who hold the season of Lent close in their hearts, it began on Ash Wednesday, February 22, 2023, and runs through April 6, 2023.
In Lent we take time to reflect on our sin, our separation from God (and/or separation from one another), our inner wrath, anger, greed and selfishness. We, also, take time to examine whether we have any madness/ unsettled issues in our hearts with God. (You know, that stored up hurt and anger that sometimes gets thrown onto God because sometimes people get very frustrated and feel they have run out of people or things to blame and so they blame God.)
Sometimes, some individuals think they need to blame someone or something for when bad things happen. Somehow, they believe that blaming God will help them feel better. As Christians, we know it doesn’t help nor is it right but in those intense moments of great pain, hurt and/or anger, good choices are not always made.
On Good Friday, after we make it through Lent, we will see God’s full love for us poured out on us as His only Son, Jesus Christ, who atoned for the sin of the whole world (1 John 2:1-2)is crucified for us. God the Father, fully and completely sacrifices His only Son in order that we might have salvation and eternal life…that all our sins would be forgiven. (Matthew 27:46).
Jesus knew and accepted that he had to be crucified on the cross for us (in order to fulfill the stories of the prophets and for all of our sins to be forgiven).
As Jesus hung there on the cross, He hung His head, breathed His last, and gave up His spirit (Matthew 27:50). It seems like absolute craziness, “madness” or foolishness (1 Cor. 1:20-25) that God would go to such great lengths to have Jesus die on the cross on Good Friday and then have an empty tomb on Easter Sunday just to restore us, to give hope, to show us agape love beyond measure. This hope is a promised reality for us...and God loves us that much.
We hope/know/believe and accept that in the age to come, we will come to recognize the magnitude and glory of what God has done for us (Revelation 5:6-14). We attempt to love one another as God has loved us.
So when or if life hands you complete “absurdities/madness/bizarreness,” pause and think of that ultimate sacrifice/the death of Jesus on the cross, and let that complete and unconditional love move you into greater peace, strength, hope, sacrifice, love, joy and relationship with the God who will love and hold you for all eternity, as well as, with those you have been called to love.
Let yourself grow during Lent, mourn on Good Friday, and celebrate on Easter. You are a blessing. You are loved. God loves you and is counting on you to love and be loved.
God bless your Lenten preparation and your self-evaluation/examination and worship. May the “Peace and Love” of Jesus shine in your heart, light your way and bring you hope.
In the love of Jesus,
The Rev. Alice Mae Applequist
St. Peter’s Episcopal Church