The practices of Lent—fasting, almsgiving, prayer, and reconciliation—invite us to recognize that we aren’t able to submerge ourselves completely in the cold waters of repentance. Despite how we might grit our teeth and plunge forward into the repentance of John’s baptism, we cannot truly die to ourselves. We keep coming up for air.
Repent, because there is a problem, because there is a power of sin in your lives…And if we think that we are innocent—as, increasingly, the finger-pointers seem to think; if we think wrong is something only other people do, think again.
We are God’s children before everything else, God’s children from the first days of the universe, from the slow turning of the galaxies, from the ancient protozoa of the sea. We are God’s creatures, the children of God.
It’s a great gift to give your children, this knowledge that God is our Father. Because it opens up a world full of wonder: this beauty of the earth, sky and rock and northern lake, is not at all impersonal. It is an act of God’s love, all of it.
Children need God insofar as they look out onto a world in which they are not alone; however much they may feel forsaken, and in fact be forsaken, it is only because of others that this is so, out of their sin and hardness of heart … In coming to be, children reach out for others beyond themselves. The very truth of God’s creative love is played out in the form of other human beings who have been chosen as their vehicles for birth, nurture and growth: parental care, of one kind or another…Hence, children need God because God, as their creator, has given himself to his people as the place where all children – young and old, families that is – find their creaturely lives manifested.
I want us to think about what this might mean. “In those days, Jesus came from Nazareth of Galilee and was baptized by John in the Jordan” (Mk. 1:9). If God enters our hoping – this reaching out to God in baptism, this hoping for God himself — what is happening?