Thursday, March 6, 2014

Even Now God Walks With Us


It’s never too late.
The opening phrase of the first reading from Ash Wednesday seems to carry that tone with it.
Even now, says the LORD,
return to me with your whole heart,
with fasting, and weeping, and mourning;
Rend your hearts, not your garments,
and return to the LORD, your God.
For gracious and merciful is he,
slow to anger, rich in kindness.
[Joel 2:12-13]

Even now
I have heard this passage from Joel many times, but that opening phrase always seemed to get lost in the Lenten buzz phrases that followed it.  When I read through it in preparation for this reflection I only saw those lines that I expected to see for Ash Wednesday, “fasting”, “rend your hearts, not your garments”, “return to the Lord”.  What I missed was as simple as the first two words. 
Even now
As I reflect on these two words I reflect on my own life, and what it truly is that God is speaking to me. 
Even now, when your classes are stressful.
Even now, when you barely have enough time to sleep.
Even now, when everything seems to be piling up.
Even now, when you just don’t seem to have the time.
Even now, says the Lord, return to me with your whole heart.
Today amidst the stress, the commitments, and the struggle God is calling for us to come back to Him and be vulnerable again.  Lent is meant to be a call to slow us down and find God within us and around us.  Our God is a God who wants to meet us where we are and walk alongside us, but sometimes it’s hard to remember to walk with God when we are just trying to keep our head above water. 
Lent is a chance for us to take the step towards centering our lives again in Christ.  As God walks with you God knows that it isn’t easy for us to just realign ourselves on our own.  Paul tells us in today’s second reading that if we work together and in God’s grace we can make that step today.  With this in mind I encourage you to seek out an accountability partner this Lenten season.  Seek out someone whom you trust and can depend on.  We are not meant to be alone in our journey, rather, we are called to find companions to call us forward and hold us accountable.
Paul tells us in the second reading today that we are ambassadors for Christ. Echoing Paul, I want to call out to you, my brothers and sisters: We here at SLU are called to be ambassadors for Christ.  Take this season as an opportunity to show others in our community that you follow Christ through your actions.  Take time each day to sit with God so that you can go out and be a visible sign of Jesus’ love on campus.  Spend a few extra minutes talking with those you normally take for granted.  Make it a practice to learn the name of every person you encounter, the person who served you lunch, the facilities person that cleans your home, and that person you pass every other day on the way to your first class.  Once you have done this, go a step further and learn their story.  As ambassadors for Christ we are to act as He did and walk with the His people, not pass them by unchanged. 
Even now when we are busy with studying and activities, we are called to be witnesses to God’s message.  Let us fully commit ourselves to making this Lenten Season about working together and walking with God and God’s people…even now when it seems hardest. 
“Behold, now is a very acceptable time;
Behold, now is the day of salvation.”
-2 Corinthians 6:2-


Adam Dirnberger is the Campus Ministry SERVE Intern and a junior studying theology and philosophy.

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