Now is never a good time for change. But now is the only time for change. As we move in the Christian year to the season of Lent we are confronted by the radical challenges of life which call for radical changes. In former times people fasted (changed their diet) not just in order to feel the pain of sacrifice. Giving up chocolate for a month could be terribly painful. Rather it was an indication of the possibility of turning one’s life around. The practical outward show was a mark of an inward spiritual reality, freedom from guilt through forgiveness from God.
Jesus was wandering around in Palestine proclaiming the good news of the coming reign of God and calling on people to turn their lives around, (repent) and believe that God with them would bring about an abundant life. At a certain point in time, the right time, Jesus turned his face towards Jerusalem. His journey was to take him to the seat of religious and political power in Israel. His very presence in that place would be a challenge to the religious and political authorities that God’s presence with his people meant justice, equity and compassion within the context of peace. As we can see in this current age those with political power see the challenge of God and the call of God on their lives as a threat. All the influence, all the power, all the wealth that they have gained and sometimes corruptly and cruelly maintained would be dismissed.
Their reaction of violent repression in an attempt to destroy the threat they perceive leads to a surprising intervention by God. Here was Jesus, a man, who so understood at the deepest level the intentions of God that he was prepared to confront the authorities fully aware of their total hostility to the possibilities that God was offering to all people. Jesus not only understood and believed God’s intentions but was knowingly and willingly obedient to those intentions.
Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you and turn the other cheek were God’s response to the action s of those who were violent toward him. Jesus lived out the radical implications of these teachings about the kingdom of heaven. The prevailing culture of our time would have required of Jesus had he conformed to it would have had to him fight to the end with all guns blazing.
Jesus, a single solitary righteous man transformed the spiritual landscape of his time. Not only that he transformed the whole world for all time. Now is the time for us to prepare the change as we walk with Jesus on the way to the cross. Now is the time to go beyond the sacrifice of giving up chocolate Tim Tams, to acknowledge that what God desires is broken and contrite heart yearning for forgiveness. What God has done in Jesus Christ is to enable us to be restored to write relationship with God. That right relationship will help us to live righteous lives and to be a blessing to the world we live in.
Change is not easy, walking the way of the cross is not easy either. Come and join a community of people following Jesus, people who are open to the reality of change in their own lives and are willing to walk beside those who are also seeking change. The transformative power of the body of Christ is available to all. You are welcome.