With only three weeks of Lent to go, this is a good time for us to pause and ready ourselves for the point in our liturgical calendar where we remain present with Jesus as he walks the journey to Calvary and takes our sin upon His shoulders to secure our place in union with Him. Mindful of what He bears for our sake, we can take these final weeks of lent, to focus on drawing near to him, so that as we do, his presence might transform us, making us worthy.
I find the verse from the book of James 4:8 heartening because it holds a promise which we can rely on. James encourages us: “Draw near to God and He will draw near to you”. So, if we direct our thoughts and our heart toward him, we can count on him drawing near to us. So, whether we feel Him close or not, we know that he is drawing near because we know that to be part of his very nature. What a blessing that we needn’t rely on our feelings or our emotions, which can be very unreliable at times. So, whether we direct our thoughts toward him as we sit before the Blessed Sacrament, or in our own homes, or walking to the bus, or while waiting in traffic, he is there with us – God Immanuel.
Consequently, with God being so good, so holy, so mighty and so beyond words, we can’t help but be changed by him when we are in his presence. And as a burning flame affects that which comes near to it, so are we affected as we enjoy his presence. We have the recent experience on the Port Hills in Christchurch, of individual flames coming together and producing a powerful fire that was very difficult to contain. As we pray for Spiritual Renewal in our Diocese this Lent, may God ignite the flame in our hearts, and may our individual flames unite to bring God’s light and warmth to our city. May it be ‘uncontainable’.
Kirsten Challies – Pastoral Worker