Jesus once told a remarkably simple story to his dinner host, Simon, which I paraphrase: “A loan shark once lent one man 60 grand and another 6 grand. When neither could pay he forgave them both.” Then he asked Simon, “Which one will love him more?” Simon answers correctly and Jesus points out that whoever is forgiven much loves much and whoever is forgiven little loves little.
Lent is a season of preparation for Easter. It is traditionally thought of as a time of intentional soul searching and ‘repentance’. Repentance, a generally misunderstood concept, is given a fresh understanding by Jesus’ story. If we can understand how much we are forgiven, we will love much more – both God and our neighbour – and find ourselves loved, liberated and joyful. When we get a glimpse of the degree of our forgiveness in Christ, that’s repentance. It’s not something we can ‘work up’ then, it’s a revelation, a gift from God (check out Acts 5:31). There’s no reason we can’t ask, seek and knock on God’s door for it, though. I have a sense that it’s just the sort of request he would be eager to grant.
The cross shines a great light on this matter. We may not think that we’re particularly ‘sinful’, at least compared to some, but that’s looking at the matter from a human perspective, which is quite the opposite of God’s. The extremity of the solution reveals the extremity of the problem. If the solution for you and me is that God himself must take our form and die then the problem must be extreme.
Lent starts next Wednesday, and the first Sunday is February 26th. We will be contemplating the death of Jesus and our need of forgiveness as we share in His Supper. You are invited to the Table of the Lord.
In Christ’s love,