Susan Naylor of Oak Hill, VA, USA
Then after this he said to the disciples, “Let us go to Judea again.” The disciples said to him, “Rabbi, the Jews were just now trying to stone you, and are you going there again?” Jesus answered, “Are there not twelve hours of daylight? Those who walk during the day do not stumble, because they see the light of this world. But those who walk at night stumble, because the light is not in them.” -John 11:7-10
As I journeyed in 2020 with the question, “Are we moving toward Jesus, the peaceful One?” I took inventory of the 2020 milestones. Excitement for the second decade of the 2000’s quickly turned to the fear and loss of an ongoing pandemic, divisions between friends, family, and acquaintances through politics, health guidelines, and conspiracies, to name a few. And through it all, “Are we moving toward Jesus, the Peaceful One?”
During this Lenten season, we remember the life and lessons of Jesus as we lament the coming events of Holy Week. Lament, however, is first and foremost truth telling. It begins by challenging the way things are. Lament names what is not right in the world. If we are moving towards Jesus, we must walk in the light as commissioned disciples modeling Christ in our every word and action.
However, embodying the Christ, moving toward Jesus every day, wraps comfort around the personal milestones of 2020: holidays and celebrations without extended family and close friends, relationships challenged, changed, and at times broken, positive virus tests, online school, and limited friend contact, no spontaneous coffee outings-the list is long. If we are moving toward Jesus, we do not stumble in the dark. We may have judged 2020 harshly, and the milestones look dark. But if we’re walking our journey toward and with Jesus, look harder.
Technology brought extended family and friends together. Smaller celebrations connected the closest of relations for unforgettable memories. Relationships viewed in new ways with new opportunities to journey. Family and employers provided support in this virus battle. Online classrooms brought compassion for students and teachers and offered new ways of learning. Maybe there were no spontaneous coffee outings, but joy arrived in unexpected cards in the mail, a quick phone call, or email.
The question is, “Are we?” not “Am I?” Together, let us walk in the light, sharing the light of Jesus with those in darkness. May we bring our light and sit in presence with those in lament. Today, let our voice of light break into the darkness of our world. Together we continue our journey toward Jesus, bringing to light His example of love and peace in our world.
God, where will your Spirit lead? Help us be fully awake and ready to respond. Grant us courage to risk something new and become a blessing of your love and peace. During this Lenten season, take courage to walk in the light; darkness is always there, but we are called to walk in, and to be, the light of Christ in our world.
Are we moving toward Jesus, the peaceful One?
Gospel Contemplation (Mark 11:1-11)
Each week during Lent, you are invited to pray with a different gospel story from the life of Christ. Use your senses and imagination to enter the text. Allow it to come to life in you, observing details, noticing interactions, even engaging in dialogue. Notice where you find yourself in the story and how you feel about what is happening. Notice what it evokes in you or invites of you. Take time to journal or enter silent prayer to reflect on your experience and to sense where the Spirit may be leading you through this scriptural encounter.
Today’s Prayer for Peace
Engage in a daily practice of praying for peace in our world. Click here to read today’s prayer and be part of this practice of peace.