Across the Pastor’s Desk: Lent time to remember humility

Published 10:01 am Friday, March 3, 2017

Joshua Enderson is the pastor at Hayward and Trondhjem Lutheran churches.

This past Sunday, I spent the evening with around 30 million other Americans and watched the 2017 Academy Awards.

Even if you didn’t wait up until 11 p.m. for the award for best picture, you’ve probably heard about the “little” mix-up that occurred with the presentation. The presenters had received the wrong card and accidentally announced that “La La Land” had won best picture, when the award was to be awarded to “Moonlight.”

Joshua Enderson

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I was cringing as a gracious but visibly awkward handoff of the award was made to the true winners. It was a very visible and public reminder that all of us, even in the most choreographed settings, can make mistakes! And it made me feel a little better about the occasional misprinting of a name or typo in a bulletin!

For those churches that follow the church calendar, we entered the season of Lent on Wednesday. Lent is a season of the church year that is meant to prepare us for the joys of Easter.

It is a 40-day season of preparation, reflection and other activities that are meant to deepen our relationship with God and neighbors.

Lent often takes on a solemn and somber tone, which makes it feel like a bit of a downer for some. Why can’t we just go right to the joy of Easter?

Why do we need to put ashes on our foreheads on Ash Wednesday? Why do we need to be reminded of our mortality (a common theme in Lent)? Why do we need to reflect on our lives and the ways in which we might be falling short?

For some, I think that this time of year is a call to humility. As much as we may try to prove to the world that we’re perfect, we can’t ignore the fact that we’re flesh and blood.

We all make mistakes. Perhaps your mistake won’t be in front of 30 million people, but you’ll still mess up. That’s what it means to be human.

Lent is a time to be reminded that we should approach ourselves and our fellow human beings with some grace and humility, because we will all trip up at some point. Not one of us is perfect.

But, this call to humility isn’t all that Lent is about, even though it can often seem like that! When we mess up, when we make a mistake, when we don’t live up to who God has created and called us to be — God doesn’t abandon us.

God doesn’t demand our perfection before loving us. When we mess up, God comes to us, picks us up, and says, “You are forgiven and I love you, and nothing can take that love away.”

That’s the true message of Lent.

As we enter into this reflective season, may this Lenten verse remind you that, above all, God’s love always wins in the end:

“Return to the Lord your God, for he is gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love.” (Joel 2:13)