Greetings, dear reader. With Lent comes the opportunity to look deeply into the condition of our spiritual health. It is a time to take spiritual inventory and to refill the shelves where necessary. There is also a sharpened sense of urgency. The judgment is coming, and we don’t have much time. It is a time to ignore distractions and to cleanse ourselves of those living patterns that divert our attention from our spiritual preparation for Easter.
Today’s readings each in their own way provide assistance with assessing our spiritual state of health. It starts with Jeremiah saying that God’s wrath will rain down on his people because they have not been faithful. The wrath will come in the form of Nebuchadnezzar and his army. This destruction and desolation will last a generation (70 years). God’s people did not heed the warnings, and they will pay the price of unfaithfulness.
The four psalms are pleas for help and protection. They acknowledge that our only protection is in the Lord. Psalm 121 is the beautiful hymn of consolation that “the Lord will keep you from all evil.” These are very comforting words following Jeremiah’s prophecy of doom. The psalms provide the answer as to where our relief comes from, but they do not provide the “how” of securing this relief.
The New Testament readings provide the “how” of securing the Lord’s protection. In Paul’s letter to the Romans, he reminds us that salvation is only available through faith and belief in Jesus Christ and cannot be achieved through the law alone. I am reminded of the simple saying that “Good thoughts will result in good actions” and not the other way around. I only wish I had learned this simple fact earlier in life. Our salvation is guaranteed only after we inwardly believe in our hearts that Jesus Christ came to earth to save us, and it is only when we confess this belief that we are truly saved.
As I prepare for Easter I pray that God will give me the strength to acknowledge my sins, and strengthen my belief that my help is in the Lord. I also pray that my eyes may see the glory of the Lord through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.