In just a few short days, Ash Wednesday will usher in another season of Lent, those 40 days (not including Sundays) prior to Easter Sunday. In the early Church, Lent was a time for catechumens to prepare for their baptism on Easter Sunday. Those who were already baptized observed a time of penitence and preparation in anticipation of Easter Sunday. Lent is meant to reflect Jesus' 40 days in the desert prior to his public ministry. Today, different denominations and faith traditions observe Lent in various ways. Some Christians choose to give up something - chocolate, coffee, and alcohol seem to be favorites - while others choose to add something, like a daily devotional or some other type of spiritual practice. However you choose to observe Lent, it offers a season of disruption - an intentional time to disrupt the regular rhythms of life to reflect on the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ; a time to slow down as the cross draws us ever nearer with a quickening pace, and with it new life.
Heather and I were recently driving past Arcelor Mittal in Burns Harbor. She asked if I ever missed working at the mill. To be honest, I do sometimes. Even though there are those moments, there are many more that remind me that I truly feel called into professional Christian ministry. It's a call that disrupted everything about my life, as well as that of my family. Had Heather and I not been willing to be disrupted, I most likely would still be running a crane. Have you ever found yourself heading in one direction only to have your path disrupted and redirected? Life is full of disruptions, some life-taking and some life-giving.
Jesus Christ was, and is the Great Disrupter, so much so that he would find himself hanging on a Roman cross. Can you imagine those first followers, the twelve? Tending their nets, collecting taxes, living an ordinary life in the ancient near East only to have an itinerant rabbi invite them to become fishers of men (And women! And children! And the least of these!). Talk about disruption! Yet, they allowed themselves to be disrupted and redirected. Jesus' ministry would continue to disrupt the lives of many, including those in power. Healing, feeding, and challenging the status quo. Now imagine those same early followers as Jesus hung on a cross. This surely disrupted their expectations and future hopes. Ultimately, Jesus would disrupt even death. For while we journey to the cross during this Lenten season, it is not the cross that has the final word. The disruption Jesus invites us to redirect us toward new life, eternal life. How will you allow Jesus to disrupt your life this Lenten season? Will you let Christ redirect you toward new life?
Our amazing church family was on a path. We thought we knew the plan moving into the future and we thought we knew the leadership who would journey with us. God disrupted their plan and so ours was disrupted, too. Disruption allows redirection. It allows new hopes, new dreams, and new life. The God who disrupted creation through the incarnation of Jesus Christ, is the same God whose Holy Spirit continues to sustain and direct the path of our church in the days ahead. Let us be disrupted and redirected into a new future confident that the God of all creation is leading the way.