Over this Lenten season, the Spiritual Formation team at First Presbyterian Church in Bend put a call out to all to submit writings for a Lenten Devotional. I will do my best to post those here daily. You can also go to our website and access all of the devotions on a pdf file.
Here is the next submission:
A LETTER TO MY SON
Scripture reading: Matthew 16: 13-20
Dear Son, light of my life, thank you for asking what I’m up to! This week I’m thinking about Lent, the 40 days before Easter, and what it means for followers of Jesus who reflect on his earthly ministry leading to the cross and resurrection. You’re in Los Angeles pursuing your career among many friends, and we’re still here at home. We remember your youthful eagerness to celebrate Easter in the church, now just a memory as you’ve told us. You’re looking into many things as you construct your life, and we bless you in that and love you always wherever you are and whatever you’re up to.
Today I’ve been thinking about the ups and downs in Jesus’ journey to the cross. It was certainly not easy, and probably lonely since his followers didn’t understand him very well. The story goes that one day he asked them what people thought of him, since rumors would fly about such an unusual person. Then he turned to them and asked, “Who do YOU say that I am?”
This is a question that every follower of Jesus and anyone who is interested in Jesus must hear and respond to. It makes all the difference in how seriously we take Jesus and his call to follow him. You’re on your own journey and learning so much now that formal education is behind you. You know our prayers for you — that you’ll base your life on God’s unconditional love for you. Maybe it’s time to take another look at Jesus, moving on from what you remember from your childhood. An adult inquiry, a fresh look at Jesus, may lead to your own discovery of his identity. Pull out that Bible you have on your shelf and read one of the gospels from beginning to end. Hang out with some people who reflect the Spirit of Jesus (some of them may even be in a church!). Join a work team of some kind helping those in need. Find some others also talking about who Jesus is — such as a Facebook group or blogging site. Listen, read, and reflect for yourself as you consider Jesus’ question, “Who do YOU say that I am?” This question and your response may surprise you with unexpected turns in your life and your heart touched with God’s unconditional love in new ways.
PRAYER: Generous God, you love sons, and bless us with them in our lives. You loved your Son so much that you gave him to the world you love so much, showing us in him what it means to be fully connected to You. We rest in Your love, and seek your help in entrusting all things to You. Amen.