Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here! — 2 Corinthians 5:17
Lent. Many Christians recognize Lent as the mark of Easter’s beginning. But truly it is that season where we are invited to both mourn and hope. It is a season of mourning as we wrestle with the cost and pain of our sin and brokenness. We hope as we see Christ victorious in his suffering and death. We mourn as we think of Jesus on the cross, bearing the weight of our sentences. We hope as we recall the empty tomb and our freedom from death. In reflecting back on the cross and looking forward to resurrection, we recognize that abiding in Christ shapes our lives in all things. As the apostle Paul writes in 2 Corinthians, “if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come.”
Faith, hope and love are the defining realities of this life as a new creation. That’s not to say that once we become followers of Christ, we live into the full expression of those virtues. Oh no. We fall short. We sin. But, those defining realities are given to us by the Holy Spirit. And it is through the Spirit that we grow as authentic disciples. As we look to Christ and seek to live in active response to him, we open ourselves up for the Spirit to work within us, nurturing our faith, hope and love.
In the midst of the pandemic and now this ice/snow storm, many may feel more mournful than hopeful. It’s easy to settle into those darker places, cocooning ourselves in the worldliness of despair. But Lent says, “No!” Lent says, “ hope is all around you because Christ has come and Christ is coming again!”
Spiritual practices can help to focus on the hope given to us through Jesus Christ. There is nothing magical about the spiritual practices themselves. On their own, they are powerless to provide meaningful transformation. But with God, He will use them to transform us into people of greater faith, hope and love. As we journey through Lent, reflecting on the cross and resurrection, let us be mindful of the hope found in the midst of the mourning.