"Even now, says the LORD, return to me with your whole heart..."
- Joel 2:12
Even now, even if you sit faithfully in church every Sunday.
Even now, even if you haven't been to church for a long while.
Even now, even if what you believe in your head feels dry and dead in your heart.
Even now, even if the God of your childhood seems remote or illusory.
Even now, even if you can't conceive of a God who would take on human flesh.
Even now, even if you're not so sure there is a God at all.
Even if you wonder if you're worthy. Even if you're not sure love is meant for you.
If your life is perfect, if you daily feel loved and safe and worthy, this journey is not for you. If you feel satisfied with all of your choices and their consequences, if your life has unfolded without complications or regrets, this journey is not for you. If you have never been lied to, never been scared, if you've never been angry or sad, this journey is not for you. If you've never felt shame, if you've never said or done something you wish you could unsay or undo, this journey is not for you.
This Lenten journey is for the rest of us. It is for those of us who want more from our lives. It is a journey about faith in the possibility that we are meant for more than a scant few decades of suffering and cares. It is a journey into hope -- hope that we can receive more, give more, feel more, be more. More than anything, it is about love. It is about acknowledging our deepest desire to love and be loved and opening to the chance, however much we might doubt, that there is Someone who loves us and longs for our love.
This is an invitation to spend 10-20 minutes a day for 40 days testing that faith, that hope, that longing for love. It is an invitation to rediscover our own hearts, and in doing so, to glimpse the heart of God. Is it worth a try, against the odds? What do we have to lose?
With Jesus, we set our faces toward Jerusalem (Luke 9:51), not knowing what we might find there, but trusting that maybe, just maybe, we will find God, and in finding God, we will find ourselves.