Pathways through Lent

Taking the Long View

Psalm 145:8–13 Deuteronomy 26:16-19 Philippians 4:4-9 Luke 6:17-23

This Lent, as we repeat the traditions that our faith has repeated for centuries, I am reminded that we must take a long view of our faith.

I was reminded of this, as well, when I traveled to the Holy Land with fellow St. John’s parishioners to visit sites that have been revered in Christendom for centuries. In Ramallah I met a woman named Lillian, a parishioner at our sister parish, St. Andrew’s. Like many others, Lillian has faced extreme hardships in the last decade. A security wall prevents her from visiting family and friends in other cities. It also prevents her longstanding tradition of Sunday picnics in the countryside. And her husband was shot by Israeli army guards for breaking curfew. He lived—and with Lillian must face constant challenges in their day-to-day lives.

Yet they deeply believe that life will improve. When I asked if they thought peace was possible in the Holy Land, they hesitantly answered yes, but not in their lifetimes. They understand that over the long arc of history there are good times and bad, that as Christians we are called to take the long view and believe that God’s kingdom is coming.

Too often we focus only on the immediate issues facing Christians. But Lent gives us an opportunity to take the long view, to look at our faith in context, to understand its past—and ensure its future.

–Michael Jones

Photo by JMC Photos
Photo by JMC Photos

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