Anyone pondering what it means to follow Christ in a world facing the reality of human vulnerability?
How do we carry on when there seems to be no end in sight?
Phew. I thought I was the only one…
Let’s start by thinking about Lent.
The observance of Lent is associated with the number forty.
Waters covered the earth for forty days. The Israelites wandered through the desert for forty years. The Spirit led Jesus to the desert for forty days. And Christians today prepare to celebrate God's grace by engaging in a forty day period of discipline leading to the commemoration of Christ's life, death and resurrection.
The word "quarantine" also is associated with the number forty. It comes from the Latin quadraginta, meaning "forty."
It comes from the thirteenth century when harbor masters kept ships quaranta giorni (forty days) before its crew and cargo could come ashore as an attempt to prevent the spread of diseases from abroad.
You may be wondering where this coincidental numeric connection is going…
Only here… Grace does come.
The God that delivered Noah from the flood, provided sustenance and healing to the people of Israel, and strength to Jesus of Nazareth is also the One that comes to us.
As the entire world confronts the question: how do we carry on when there seems to be no end in sight? We remember that the flood waters receded, Israel arrived in the Promised Land, and Jesus emerged from the desert to begin his ministry.
Moreover, Christ did not remain in the tomb. That new life continues to spread today so that we have comfort and healing. Our resulting faith is a way of life - and of hope.
We are on a journey this 40 day Lent and quarantine (or however long it is) to discover again our God of new possibility and of new life.
MISSIO offers this blog by James Nagle Ph.D. to reflect on questions of mission and faith.