Summary: A lenten homily on humility, and repentance
Lent a season of Repentance.
We disciples of Jesus are celebrating our communal Lenten pilgrimage, a 40 day spiritual journey that will hopefully enable us to better appreciate and celebrate the life giving death and eternal resurrection of our Lord and Savior, the very feast of our salvation. These forty days of Lent should be both a grace filled periods of self discovery as well as a spiritual journey that will enhance our relationship with the Nazarene .The evangelical call of the Lenten season is very simple: recognize our sinfulness repent and beliver the good news.
This period of preparation for the feast of our salvation should be a time of humility, sincere repentance, and conversion. .Saints and scholars throughout the centuries have emphasized that humility is the portal to holiness. Humility should not be too challenging for us here at the Chapel of Dismus. Let me explain that statement. I am so grateful to be part of this fellowship for so many different reasons. One reason is that this particular gathering of believers is a very clear reminder that God in his infinite wisdom chooses Who He wills to carry out His Mysterious salvific plan. Any study of salvation history will clearly illustrate that Yahweh has persistently used eccentric characters with a wide variety of personality quirks, idiosyncrasies and moral blemishes to carry out His divine will. We in this sacred congregation certainly are no exceptions.
Every disciple of the Nazarene must remain cognizant of the undeniable fact that whatever proficiency, experience or charisma we possess is an unmerited gift from our gracious God. The words of Paul should resonate in the ears, hearts and minds of every disciple. What do we have that we have not received? (1 cor 4/7)
During this season of lent as well as every day of our life we must be perpetually cognizant of the simple reality that we are nothing and the Savior is everything In this age of entitlement where self fulfillment and self actualization has been deified, such an insight may be very challenging to accept, process or internalize but it is nonetheless an undeniable reality.
We are all invited to develop a childlike recognition of our utter nothingness and our total dependence upon the Father of Mercies. Experience has clearly demonstrated that when the blessed Liberator perceives us as integrally convinced of our nothingness, He takes us into his arms so that we can become strong and secure in his tender and compassionate embrace. It is my firm conviction that all of who bear the precious name of Christian must seek the grace to imitate the Baptist. We must use all of our God given resources, capabilities and charismas so that the status and message of the Liberator will increase while our sense of importance and need for self- fulfillment will diminish.
Now some of the wisest and most spiritual individuals I know are those who work a 12 step recovery program. I have come to realize that these programs are for those who actually want what they have to offer and not for those who simply need it. If it was for those who needed recovery, they would have to hold their meetings in stadiums and not the basement of churches. An integral part of this program is that those who are seeking recovery are required to consistently take a moral self inventory which will reinforce their awareness of their ongoing need for recovery, fellowship and abstinence.
We Christians must also conduct frequent realistic moral self-inventory. An authentic self examination will enable one to recognize those capabilities, personality attributes and life experiences that can be utilized to invite others to Jesus. Once these gifts have been identified than he must give thanks for them and than seek the grace that will enable us to enhance those particular assets. However, we must also have the courage to identify those shortcomings, flaws and personal issues that have the potential to alienate others from Him who is their one and only hope for eternal salvation. Once we ascertain the identity of these problematic behaviors and attitudes than we must seek the guidance and grace to monitor and eradicate them.
The healthy and mature disciple of the Nazarene will have a realistic self- image. He knows that on his most altruistic, orthodox and compliant day he remains a sinner with a desperate need of the Savior’s guidance and grace. All Christians have a perpetual need for community, ministry and reconciliation. Once a disciple denies that he is a sinner, he ignores his need for a savior.
During this season of lent, let us make a special effort to examine our life on a daily basis. Are you walking walk with the Liberator? Have you sought His grace today that will enable you to follow his example and gospel of love, forgiveness and justice? Have you disappointed your loving Father? Have you ignored the invitation of the Savior to imitate Him? Have you turned your back on the sanctifying and convicting voice of the Spirit? Socrates once said that the unexamined life is not worth living. This philosophical pearl of wisdom is also applicable to us disciples of the Liberator. Today examine your life. Now I know that the temptation to monitor the behaviors, sins and weaknesses of our siblings is always a great temptation. But do not worry about others. Place the spotlight of the gospel upon yourself. I am certain that if we take a grace inspired moral inventory we will verify the words of Paul there is none righteous no not one. (Rm 3/10)