Last year our church collaborated to create a Lenten devotional. Here are some words I wrote for the epilogue.
"Death gets the first and the last word in the season of Lent. On Ash Wednesday, the first day in Lent, we repent in sorrow of our sinfulness, recalling through the ash our own mortality. And then forty-six days later, on Holy Saturday, the last day of Lent, we are forced to deal with the reality that God was, at one point in time, dead in the person of Jesus. Lent is a sobering season, to be sure."
And if you're interested, here is one of my contributions to the devotional.
First Day of Lent
Originally published March 9, 2011
by Scott Savage
“God give us love in the time that we have.” —Iron & Wine
When I was a kid a few of us had a bright idea to sneak into the youth room and play pool. Because the room was a separate structure from the main church building, we were sure no one would find us. So, upon breaking and entering, we began to play. But it wasn’t long before our imaginations soared to new heights and we realized that we could reach the ceiling with the pool cues and that with a little force we could poke holes into it. What happened next can only be described as a downward spiral of destruction and mayhem. We trashed the place.
Upon our indictment, we were arraigned, forced to come back to the church in a few weeks to repair the damage. But when we arrived, to our surprise, we found that we were not the only ones there. It seemed that the church had coincided our punishment with an all-church workday. At least we wouldn’t be alone.
There is something sobering about coming back to the scene of a crime. You feel differently about what you’ve done when you’re forced to see it in a new way. With tears and sighs, we picked up our Spackle and went to work on the millions of holes we had made.
But something happened next that I wasn’t prepared for. I looked over and saw our accusers – the judge and jury of our crimes – standing next to us, filling in the holes that we had made.
Of all the things Jesus could have highlighted after his benchmark teaching on prayer, he chose forgiveness. “For if you forgive others for their transgressions, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive others, then your Father will not forgive your transgressions.”
Lord, may we forgive one another as you have forgiven us. Amen.