A Lenten Challenge

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Have you ever met someone who is always questioning someone or something?  It could be sunny outside but that person would say, ďBut is it really sunny?Ē


That might be a bit of an exaggeration but I hope you get the point Iím trying to make. There always seems to be a catch or some fine print that takes what appears great and makes it too good to be true.


Like those Internet specials advertised on TV or those cell phone plans that are just $49.99 a monthÖand in fine print there is a clause about how you must dye your hair blue for 12 months in order to receive the discount.


What I am about to say will probably blow your mind.  In fact, youíll probably think Iím one of those folks who is simply blowing smoke. You ready?  Okay, here it goes:  God is love.


As Episcopalian priest Broderick Greer put it, ďGod is not a trickster. When God offers God's self in the person of Jesus, God is telling us who God is: mercy, compassion, and faithfulness.Ē


You donít have to join a church for God to love you.  You donít have to be a saint for God to love you.  You donít even need to have your life figured out for God to love you.


Here is the best thing about God:  there may be seasons in our lives where we question something about our faith. There even may be a season or two when we doubt if God is even real, if prayer matters, and that church only perpetuates pain rather than relieves it.


God will never question you. Instead, God looks upon you with mercy and promises to do something with you and within you.


Friends, there is no need to limit God to past mercies. Or, as one pastor has said, ďGod is an ever present help, to quote the old hymn. The gospel needs to be heard every day. The life-giving word of forgiveness cannot be proclaimed in the past tense. It was wonderful when it was announced yesterday, but yesterday's gospel is today's teaching. We need to hear the gospel afresh, every day.Ē

The prophet Isaiah reminds us of this when he writes,

18 Do not remember the former things,
   or consider the things of old. 
19 I am about to do a new thing;
   now it springs forth, do you not perceive it?
I will make a way in the wilderness
   and rivers in the desert. 


Godís love is not too good to be true. It is good and very true.  Whether you are aware of it or not, God has, is, and will continue to do something new in your life. Even now, Godís love is falling upon you and dwells within you.


That is the thing about God, even when we feel like we are in exile, God has not abandoned us. God is about liberation and resurrection, not punishment and condemnation.


God is about restoration and always will be.  Perhaps it is our own selves that are preventing it from happening.  Because letís be honest, that sounds too good to be true, doesnít it?

[Adam Quine, Pastor of First Presbyterian Church of Lincoln]



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