I didn’t actually give anything up for Lent this Easter to show how serious I am about my faith – apart from writing on this blog (though as I have been too busy to even think about that, giving it up for six weeks counts more as a blessing than a hardship).
One thing I have done is work through the Gospel of Luke via Lent for Everyone by Tom Wright, which doesn’t finish until this Easter Saturday. I found it quite challenging facing The Passion, as I read the scriptures and the reflections each day, to look honestly at my behaviour in relation to my faith, and how I show Jesus to the world through that. Imagining myself as one of the disciples, or one of the crowd, in the situations portrayed in the book (as suggested by Wright) gave me a new insight into how God understands everything we go through, in real-life terms, because of what he did for us through Jesus Christ on the cross.
The whole experience has enabled me to link it in to current situations in my own life, especially decision making and choices as reactions to personal events, and how these relate to the story and the scriptures.
I have become closer to God this Lenten period and throughout Easter, knowing that he understands everything I am feeling at any given time or situation, because He has already experienced everything I have faced, am facing, or will ever have to face.
There was a beautiful explanation in the book about the Ascension of Jesus to Heaven. Put simply it is this: that Jesus goes up (to Heaven), the power (Holy Spirit) comes down, the kingdom (God’s) gets going.
God’s kingdom is about God running the world in a whole new way. We as Christians can’t just tell people about Jesus so they come to faith, we need to be receptive to the presence and the power of God so that we can be the ones through whom God’s kingdom comes.
‘There is an old Christian tradition that God sends each person into the word with a special message to deliver, with a special song to sing for others, with a special act of love to bestow.’ (John Powell, Through the Season of the Heart).
I pray that many more people have found themselves in God’s presence and power this Easter, and are ready to deliver their own special message to the world, for the coming of the kingdom.