Lenten Reflection: Marked by Our Convictions
Photo by Flickr user Sarah Korf
On Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays during Lent, we offer reflections from Bread staff and others who faithfully work to end hunger.
Lectionary readings (from the Revised Common Lectionary):
Haggai 2:1-9, 20-23
Yet at the same time many even among the leaders believed in him. But because of the Pharisees they would not openly acknowledge their faith for fear they would be put out of the synagogue; for they loved human praise more than praise from God. (John 12:42-43)
A man in love will make an absolute fool of himself to win the affection of his beloved. A mother will make ridiculous faces and babble unintelligibly to elicit a smile from her baby. When our convictions are strong enough, when our longing is deep enough, we’re usually willing to risk a little embarrassment, to stick our necks out beyond our comfort zone.
An honest journey through Lent is marked by conspicuous conviction from start to finish.
For me, there’s hardly a more conspicuous act of Christian devotion than publicly wearing the black smudges of Ash Wednesday plastered across my forehead. It’s one of the few days of the year when I viscerally feel “set apart” because of faith in Christ. And yet, the approach of Good Friday reminds me that the awkwardness of quizzical stares pales in comparison to the conspicuous conviction – and suffering – of the One who laid down his life that all might have it fully and eternally. “Anyone who loves their life will lose it, and anyone who hates their life in this world will keep it for eternal life.” (John 12:25)
That’s the kind of conviction Jesus calls us to live into. The kind of conviction that washes dirty feet. The kind of conviction that speaks difficult truth in love. The kind of conviction that defends the rights of poor and hungry people, even when opposition is quick and change slow to come. The kind of conviction that chooses God’s praise over feel-good but fleeting praise from friends, coworkers, luminaries, and leaders.
God, release us from the fear of standing in the full light of our convictions. Remake us in the image of Jesus, who “[came] into the world as a light, so that no one who believes in [him] should stay in darkness.” (John 12:46)
Greg Sims is annual giving manager at Atlanta Community Food Bank.
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