“Behold, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!” – John 1:29
Story is essential to our lives. Our story defines us as who we were, who we are, and who we will be. Lives lived as sons and daughters, wives and husbands, leaders and servants. All gets crammed together into your being as that which has come to define you based on those experiences. For example, how you were raised defines your parenting. How you interacted with the opposite sex as a child defined your dating life as an adult. How money and property were discussed and managed, influences the ways you handle those things today.
If you have spent any time with a practicing Jewish neighbor, you discover the importance of the Biblical Story within their lives. Where redemption out of Egypt some 3500 years ago has defined these people for that same amount of time. The Passover meal being their liturgy attached to remembering that work of God for their salvation from Egyptian slavery. Their Story, that is God’s Story in their lives, becomes what binds them together and makes them who they are beyond any of the other individual stories that defines individual Jews.
For us, Church, our Story as Christians parallels this grand Story of Hebrew redemption with our Christ being our Passover Lamb. That we walk this road of Lent as ones to be reminded that we have a story, too. A Story with a history that goes well beyond our own pasts. A history that involves God’s interjecting of himself into the world of sin for the purpose of life and salvation.
We already heard Christ speak of our lives as those lived in quiet humility and servitude on Ash Wednesday, knowing that where our treasure is, there our heart shall be also. (Matthew 6:21) These coming Lenten Sundays we will read of our Savior’s temptation, the need for rebirth, the calling of true worshippers, the healing of a blind man, and the raising of Lazarus. Each of these moments being Christ’s work for you to showcase how this Story is tied to you. His temptation being a victory we never could gain. His preaching being one of newness, telling us that our defining story is attached to his work on our behalf, not on our past. The opening of blind eyes calling us to see our sin and know of our need for life eternal, which Christ then offers up as the resurrection and the life made known through raising a friend long dead.
This Lent, how might this Story of Christ become more real for you? What might we as the church do to assist each other to have this Story be one to pass on to future generations that they might know the greatness of the Lord and his glorious power? As your pastor, my prayer for you this Lent is that this Story of Jesus becomes your foundation, your bedrock, in all you do. Because in the church we are gathered around this sacred event that has captured the world for centuries. As it is with our Jewish friends, may our Exodus out of sin and death be made real by knowing our real Savior, Jesus Christ, as the essential part of who we are in him, and this will bring us together always.