Through Stained Glass
Lent – the Season of Our Becoming

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The mantra for our congregation is everything belongs. Advent is about the coming of the Christ to dwell among us. The incarnation is a story reiterating what God spoke in the beginning – that this life and world are good. The Christmas story reveals the depth of God’s love, choosing solidarity with Creation as an act of love rather than condemning it. Epiphany is about the revelation of the Christ's presence to all the world, and the story of the Magi reminds us that all traditions belong to the Divine.

Advent and Christmas were full of stories drawing us to the presence of God in and among God’s people. The story of the baptism of Christ reminds us that we belong to God in life and death – our identity belongs to God. The stories of Jesus calling the disciples invite us to consider joining God in re-creating the world. We all have a part in the missio Dei1. We belong to the life and activity of the Triune God, and our call is to join the Christ in embodying the reign of God! The first three seasons of the church calendar center us in the story of our belonging – to God, God’s mission, and one another.

We are quick to forget our belongings. We find ways to separate ourselves from God, Creation, one another, and ourselves. We forget that we belong to love – our identity and destiny. When this separation (which means sin) occurs, our belonging and our oneness with God are blurred. We forget who and whose we are and begin creating identities that do not reflect our true selves. During this disordering experience, the temptation is to pursue the self-destructive illusion that says we are alone and separate, choosing to be a rugged individual to a true community. Evil, the ideologies that pit us against the community and actions that lead to an ‘us versus them’ mentality, seduces us deeper into separation’s despair. These wages rob us of our true selves by insisting the gap is too large to bridge and the presence of pain and suffering means healing is not possible. No longer do we believe we belong, but we are ‘predestined’ to be autonomous from God and one another.


The good news is that this illusion is just that, an illusion. The Biblical witness tells of God’s activity and movement toward us to undo whatever it is that separates us. In the life, ministry, death, and resurrection of Jesus, we see how we return to our belonging by becoming who God calls us to be. Lent is the season of our becoming –we examine our separations by witnessing our sufferings, tending to our pains, and emptying the small self so we may encounter the Risen Christ. Not with quick fixes or bypassing with spiritual language. Sister Joan Chittister says it best, “Lent is about becoming, doing, and changing whatever it is that is blocking the fullness of life in us right now.” For forty days, we travel into the wilderness of our lives and ask, “Who is God inviting us to become?”

Lent is a season of disorder. The good news is that we do not traverse the ashy landscape alone – but God in the Risen Christ, with the companionship of the Spirit – goes with us. Lent invites us into the paradox of this life – failure is a part of success, death is a part of life, and imperfection is included in perfection – or, to use the definition in Scripture – becoming whole!

If love is our belonging, faith is the slow process of getting there. Lent is the season of our becoming – when we journey together with the faith of Jesus toward our true belonging – the Beloved Community.

Adam Quine, minister
First Presbyterian Church in Lincoln

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