Many years ago a close, dear friend gave Cyndy and me a gift. “Open it now,” she said. We unwrapped it and took it out of the box. It was a piece of pottery, about six inches in diameter, beige colored, in the shape of a dome. There was a hole in the top and it was hollow inside. “Oh, it’s beautiful. Thank you so much,” we said. “It’s perfect. We love it.” Have you ever received a gift and had no idea what it was or what you were supposed to do with it? I wonder if that’s what happens to us when we hear Jesus say, “It is your Father's good pleasure to give you the kingdom.”
We live in a tension between the uncertainty of life and the certainty of death. And we work pretty hard at denying, ignoring, forgetting, outrunning, and overcoming those twin realities. But they are always there. They are always present to us in the same way the ashes with which we will be marked were already a part of and present in the palms we carried last year on Palm Sunday.
What’s that like for you? In what ways have those two realities, the uncertainty of life and the certainty of death, made themselves known in your life? Maybe that's what you are facing today.
Yesterday we began Lent with a couple of questions. What do you treasure? Where is your heart? Today we hear God’s answers to those questions.
Where we begin our Lenten journey is not as important as where it takes us. In the same way, what we give up, take on, or do for Lent are not as important as what those things do for us.
What should I do for Lent this year? What should I read or study or give up or take on? These are good questions, but they are not Jesus’ question. Jesus wants to know what we treasure. Jesus is getting to the heart of the matter—our hearts.