Faces of Faith: The Church’s GPS
One of the blessings of modern technology is the GPS, or Global Positioning System.
Once it was placed in cars and phones, it enabled the most directionally deficient person to appear like Lewis & Clark when finding a place he had never been to previously.
With nothing more than the insertion of a valid address, a person is able to maneuver a maze of streets and roads and highways and arrive successfully at one’s destination.
And if one is not as careful as they should be in following commands, and manages to take a wrong turn, the genius GPS informs you with little or no shame that you “have left the planned route,” and it generously offers you the possibility of being “rerouted” from your present incorrect position.
What a marvelously helpful system!
The wonderful season of Lent that Christian churches all over the world recently began is the Church’s GPS.
Although we begin the season of Lent with ashes on our foreheads as a sign of our sinfulness, Lent is not just a forty-day period of fruitless contemplation of that sinfulness.
Lent is a season to journey. It’s a time to move from one place of unnecessary darkness, to a place of beauty and light.
Lent is an opportunity for conversion, for turning away from sin and turning towards the Lord. Lent is the church’s retreat, and like a good retreat it is meant to improve us and move us closer to the Lord, who then always calls us to be moved to change the world for the better by touching the lives of our brothers and sisters, especially those brothers and sisters who are experiencing hardship and difficulty.
In a sense, Lent is like a good GPS, it tells us we have “left the planned route,” a route planned from the moment of our conception, a route confirmed by our baptism in the Lord.
Lent is meant to put us back on track, for at times we take a wrong turn, at times we get lost in the mazes that we construct in our lives, and we choose something other than God.
Lent reroutes us, turns us around (conversion), and gives us the opportunity to see ourselves as God sees us.
Lent reminds us of our destination, and tells us how we can best arrive there safely.
Lent is a blessed opportunity to be more conscious of our walking with the Lord, who teaches us what is involved in following in his footsteps, and who encourages us to not just be content with our own self-improvement, but to reach out to an oftentimes broken world as ambassadors of God’s love.