Lent 2020 begins next week on Wednesday, February 26th. The word “lent” comes from the Old English word word “lencten” meaning “spring season,” when all around us signs of spring and new life appear, on our journey to Easter. We can be optimistic and hopeful.
For Lent this year, I plan to write a few weekly reflections, offering contemporary perspectives (basically optimistic) from an older historical theologian…
When I think of contemporary perspectives, I have two things in mind: (1) new ways of looking at older Christian realities, understandings, and belief statements; and (2) a focus on Christian life that shifts away from “churchianity,” with with its rigid focus on fidelity to doctrines and rules.
Churchianity is rooted in obedience and power over people. Christianity is rooted in love, compassion, and service. The central focus of genuine Christianity must be a living and lived-out relationship with God and with one’s neighbor. Doctrines and rules come later, but are of secondary importance.
Right now, I have the following thematic elements in my head, which I hope to expand on during the weeks of Lent: Youth — Jesus and His Young Disciples; The Gospels: About Faith Not About Presenting a Life of Jesus; A Contemporary Perspective on One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic — a Church Much Bigger Than the Roman Catholic Church; The Evangelical Vision — Four Gospels Four Christian Theologies; Contemporary Insights About Jesus’ Crucifixion and Death; and Resurrection Greater than Resuscitation.
There may be some adjustments along the way. I am not planning on long essays. The reflections will be brief and to the point. The focus will be a kind of meditative retreat on the road to Easter.
I may quote from books and articles I have read as well….. I do hope I can offer some reflections that are worth reading as well as stimulating and helpful. We are all confronted with much too much blah blah these days….Especially as we begin the nine month gestation period of presidential election rhetoric….
And so today, I conclude with a brief reflection about WISDOM from the Hebrew Scriptures:
God brought me forth as the first of God’s works, before God’s deeds of old.
I was formed long ages ago, at the very beginning, when the world came to be.
When there were no watery depths, I was given birth.
When there were no springs overflowing with water,
Before the mountains were settled in place,
Before the hills, I was given birth.
Before God made the world or its fields
Or any of the dust of earth.
I was there when God set the heavens in place.
When God marked out the horizon on the face of the deep,
When God established the clouds above
And fixed securely the fountains of the deep.
When God gave the sea its boundary
So the waters would not overstep God’s command.
When God marked out the foundations of the earth.
Then I was constantly at God’s side.
I was filled with delight day after day.
Rejoicing always in God’s presence,
Rejoicing in God’s whole world.
Delighting in humankind.
Warmest regards. May we live and rejoice in WISDOM.