For anyone counting, it looks like I missed yesterday. In light of our travel back from St. Croix and my call to preach tonight at Gamecock Lutherans, I finished my sermon on the plane and took time to debrief our experience with the rest of the mission team. If you'd like to see the product of yesterday's writing, today's sermon is below.
But today, I'm back. and reflecting on coming home to a house full of family after a full week away. I spent today with Michelle's parents, my cousin Ashley, her husband Jon, and their three kids. One of the amazing gifts of family is that, even after years away, those blessed relationships can immediately bloom once again.
That happened today with my seven year old cousin Madisyn (Ashley's daughter). The last time we saw one another was nearly a year and a half ago, but the way she ran through the rain and into my arms made time collapse. For the next ninety minutes, I was part cousin, part jungle gym, part spelling bee assistant, part trampoline, and part chair as we played and talked our way beyond an age difference and years apart.
The Sundays in Lent offer us opportunities for these kind of reunions on an ecclesial scale. We come together as a church from the observances of Lent and have a "Little Easter." Sundays, rather than being a part of Lent, are celebrations of Christ's resurrection even amidst the journey toward the cross. Sundays collapse the time, and we experience the fullness of the Christian story in a little over an hour. We become sinners and saints, the lost and the found, the prodigal and the faithful, the condemned and the redeemed, all at once. In the Eucharist we become one with all the faithful as time and space collapse into the remembrance of Christ's life, death, and resurrection.
As we make our Lenten journeys, let's come to Sundays with the kind of open hearts that expect time to collapse as we meet our sisters and brothers in Jesus' feast. Time, Lenten time, will come, and our devotional practices will help form us into Christ's image. But Sundays are the time when the family comes home, when we catch a glimpse of the journey from the joyous end rather then from the struggles of the center, and where we get food for the road ahead. Let time collapse around us on Sundays, where we get a foretaste of that feast to come.
Simultaneously a sinner and a saint.