My eight part series on Lent continues over at The Catholic Weekly, still with no paywall!:
If, as we said last time, the point of Lent is to get ready, not for a holiday of chocolate eggs, bunnies, and nice clothes we call Easter but for the enormous, universe-transforming blast that is the Resurrection of the Son of God and all it means in the establishment and eventual triumph of the New Creation, then it follows that we need to rethink what we are doing with our Lenten observances.
This need to rethink everything is all through the New Testament. Paul, for instance, tells us:
“I appeal to you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this world but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that you may prove what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.” (Romans 12:1-2)
Likewise, he says:
“If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth. For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ who is our life appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.” (Colossians 3:1-4)
And all this is summarised by Jesus himself, who tells us:
“Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust consume and where thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust consumes and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.” (Matthew 6:19-21)
What all these sayings have in common is the idea we are to detach from this world system with its ridiculous obsessions over money, pleasure, power, and honor and instead start living into the reality of the New Heaven and New Earth that has already begun to take shape with the Resurrection of Jesus.
The Kingdom of God is not somewhere far away in Cloud Cuckoo Land, but is already here and is quietly working in secret all through the world, like yeast silently permeating creation, or like seeds germinating without fanfare and without notice from the Big Shots and principalities who think only in terms of force, domination, fear, and power.
It is like a virus quietly re-writing the DNA of the universe and preparing it, not for destruction, but for a Resurrection like Christ’s.
Enjoyed this, Mark!