The freshness of God's love for us

Lent reminds us of freshness and vibrancy of God’s love for us.

“See, I am doing something new! Now it springs forth, do you not perceive it?” the prophet Isaiah proclaims (43:19). How exciting! God wants us to see what new thing He is doing our everyday lives. Isaiah’s “new thing” and Christ’s resurrection, which we await to celebrate at Easter, prepare us to encounter Jesus in others and in the world around us where something out of the ordinary happens.

Jesus demonstrates the newness of life in His reaction to the woman the scribes “caught in adultery.” Surely, she was frightened; she knew she would be stoned to death. But Jesus calmed down the wild mob and bend down to write something on the ground.

Everyone has presumed He wrote down the sins of those self-righteous men. The gospel does not actually reveal what He wrote. And maybe it does not matter. What is significant is that it gave the agitated mob time to calm down and let truth, goodness and mercy to emerge. And it worked. One by one the men dropped their stones.

Now, Jesus did not rebuke the woman’s accusers. He sought not condemnation, but reconciliation. God understands we cling to our stones of righteousness, indignation, prejudice, resentment over hurts, pride, or harsh judgments.

During this Year of Mercy and Lent, God is calling us to calm down and think. He is stooping down and writing in the dust of our minds and hearts, so our goodness and mercy can come forth. God holds out hope so that we are not defined by our weakest moments or our loudest outburst.

He is also asking us to be like Jesus and choose not to judge, but to forgive – to walk with Jesus to Jerusalem, through suffering, death and resurrection. Lent is a time to sense God’s trust in us, to open ourselves to God’s grace and to let the stones fall away.

Happily, Lent and Easter coincide with spring. There are blooming flowers blooming, trees budding into greenness, and birds enchanting us with song – the new life Isaiah proclaimed and God calls us enjoy.