As the waning Lenten season prepares to yield to the powerful drama of Holy Week and the pure joy of Easter, something struck me about the readings we have heard this season. I noticed recurring themes of repentance and new life in Christ across many of the lectionary selections:
All this talk of new life is quite inspiring and uplifting. It’s the stuff that great sermons, hymns, and books are made of. As encouraging as these passages are, however, the road between the old life we are used to and the new life God has for us in Christ can be long and difficult.
The observation that that road can be long and difficult is not a new idea, nor is it an original one. Like many matters of faith, though, it is an idea that Andrea and I have come to more fully appreciate in light of our recent journey to new life as parents. When we discovered last year that we were expecting, we had no idea of the curves, obstacles, and potholes we would encounter. Some of these were completely expected, including sleep deprivation in baby Rosalind’s first weeks and the process of adopting and adapting rhythms for family life. Even some of the medical challenges were anticipated, especially the need to diligently watch Andrea’s thyroid medication levels because the medicine provided all the thyroid hormone that she and Rosalind had to work with during the early period of Rosalind’s neurological development.
We expected those things and had at least some idea as to what we were getting into. We did not, however, expect such broad-ranging medical complications as Andrea’s preeclampsia and persistent (and still ongoing) battle with shingles or Rosalind’s need to spend ten days in the NICU at the Children’s Hospital of Illinois before getting to come home with us. The new life we ended up with is wonderfully full of joy, but the road to get there was far more involved than we had ever imagined.
As we continue in these final weeks of Lent, then, let us embrace whatever hard work and/or deep reflection and/or change in our ways that God sets before us on the road to the new way of life God has for us in Christ. The specifics will look different for each of us, and the journey continues beyond the Lenten season--indeed, through our entire lives. But in this special time of the church year when we remember Christ’s triumph over sin in hanging on a cross on Good Friday and his final victory over death by rising again at Easter, let us give thanks for the God who makes such new life possible for us and reminds us daily of that good news through Holy Baptism. In the words of our forefather Martin Luther:
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Pastor Micah Garnett has been our Pastor since July 2016. He grew up in York, PA and graduated from the Lutheran Theological Seminary at Gettysburg in 2011. He enjoys worship, working with social services in Fulton County, writing hymns, and cycling.