“Very truly, I tell you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains just a single grain; but if it dies, it bears much fruit.” John 12:24
Lent is redemption. It is a season in which Jesus wants us to join him in his journey to the cross. It is a season in which Jesus wants us to join him in his redemptive plan for all humans and all of God’s creation. Lent is a season in which Jesus wants to redeem our ways first, so we can be instruments of redemption to others.
What is complicated is to identify the ways in which our ways need redemption. At first, it seemed that the pandemic was slowing us down, but rather, the pandemic has changed our rhythms of work, church life, and life in general, and many of us have become busier, more distracted, and often disengaged from the urgent matters of God’s world.
One example of an urgent matter in which God’s world need the redemptive power of Jesus is the violence Black, Indigenous, and People of Color keeps experiencing in our country. Just this week, another violent act left eight people death, including six Asian American women. This atrocious act is evidence of the ongoing violence the Asian American community has experienced in the last months, which led to the #StopAsianHate movement. However, it is important to acknowledge that these acts against the Asian American community is not new, the Chinese Exclusion Act and Vincent Chin’s murder are just two examples that violence against Asian Americans has been a part of the history of our country.
This is evidence of how violence is often rooted in fear, specifically, fear of the other. Our fears are also rooted in our own prejudices, biases, and especially our implicit biases. This is an area in our lives that needs redemption. May this lent be an opportunity for us to be willing to die to ourselves, as the grain of wheat, so that we may experience redemption and we may bear much fruit.
Let’s pray Psalm 119 together:
119:10 With my whole heart I seek you; do not let me stray from your commandments.
119:11 I treasure your word in my heart, so that I may not sin against you.
119:12 Blessed are you, O LORD; teach me your statutes.
119:13 With my lips I declare all the ordinances of your mouth.
119:14 I delight in the way of your decrees as much as in all riches.
119:15 I will meditate on your precepts, and fix my eyes on your ways.
119:16 I will delight in your statutes; I will not forget your word.
If you would like to view past editions of Time with Ismael, follow this link: https://heritagedistrictnc.org/category/from-the-ds/