Lenten Reflection

During my recent travels in Asia, I was amazed by several things. First, the words “Merry Christmas” that greeted visitors arriving in the Beijing airport as well as in various public squares. How surprising to see these words in a nation that prides itself on being communist. Then, as I traveled through Thailand and Cambodia, almost every private and public bus, taxi cab and boat driver had a picture of Buddha and often words of honor to him stenciled on the roof of their vehicle, or flowers of veneration hanging from their interior mirror or from their ship’s bow. Local shops sported small shrines to Buddha with incense. Everywhere I went I could not forget that there was a spiritual belief that was central to the people. I reflected on how interesting it was that so much effort and dedication was placed on the veneration of a man who never claimed to be god but who just claimed to find a path to enlightenment. Upon returning to the states, I found myself longing to see such devotion to Jesus Christ, God who became flesh. I was hopeful as I arrived at O’Hare International airport in Chicago and was greeted by a display of stained glass windows from churches depicting images of Jesus as well as a chapel for prayer. However, outside of these elements in this nation which is titled Christian, I’m saddened by the few reminders or lack of emphasis on Christ — the one who opened the way for eternal life.

 The Lenten season is a good time to reflect on how central a place Jesus holds in our lives. Are we filled by our relationship with him? Are we proud to acknowledge him as our Lord and savior? Are our lives centered on bringing him honor and glory? This season reminds us that we serve a God who is real and alive, who has conquered sin and death. May we commit ourselves more fully to him as well as reflect to the world our love and devotion for Christ.   ~ Pastor Mitch