March 8, 2011 – Looking for the Pioneer
Rev. Geoff DeFranca
Tomorrow is Ash Wednesday. In the Christian Calendar, it launches those who name Christ as Savior into the most introspective and reflective time of the year. In our overly connected and efficient world, we have little room for these forty days. But they sit there, awaiting us year in and year out, awaiting reflective minds and yearning hearts. And Lent does not disappoint.
But what is its purpose? Why the intense meditation on the cross and suffering; on weakness and pain; on blood, sweat and tears? The writer to the Hebrews gives us a hint in these words:
“It was fitting that God, for whom and through whom all things exist, in bringing many children to glory, should make the pioneer of their salvation perfect through sufferings.” (Hebrews 2:10 NRSV)It is always easy to sit in a position in life with little regard or understanding of the benefit we receive by those who went before us. Think about that when you sit in a sanctuary in which you had no part in the sacrifice and effort that went in to making that sacred space yours. So it is, most of the year, we really don’t hone in on all Christ has done for us. Lent does not allow such spiritual amnesia. Lent confronts us with this truth:
“Yes, by God’s grace, Jesus tasted death for everyone. (Hebrews 2:9 NLT)There it is! We are called to remember that our Savior forged the way ahead through pain and sorrow, suffering and death. So, as we walk where “we do not yet see everything in subjection” to us or Him, where we do not have the control we wish over the struggles we hate, we do see Jesus; Jesus the pioneer of our salvation as the leader in our humanity shows us the way to live even as He Himself faced death. The one who became a common man knows the way of the common man providing the victory for the common man! Now, let Lent begin.
Lord, tomorrow begins Lent. Help us embrace its embrace of us. And let us look for You, our Pioneer, who carved out the way to live. Help us to “pay greater attention to what we have heard, so that we do not drift away from it.” Lord, hear our prayer.