“Almighty God, you alone can bring into order the unruly wills and affections of sinners: Grant your people grace to love what you command and desire what you promise; that, among the swift and varied changes of the world, our hearts may surely there be fixed where true joys are to be found; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.” – BCP, page 219
When we are in Christ Jesus, our Father sees our sins no more – He has promised to not only forgive our sins, He promises not to even remember them in Jeremiah 31:34. Christ is our representative to Our Heavenly Father, everything Jesus is, all that the Father sees in Christ is how the Father sees us. Because, when we serve Christ and truly do what Jesus would do, we are like that single grain of wheat our Lord speaks of in today’s Gospel, John 12:20-33. And then we are resurrected in Christ, and only then can we bear much fruit. When we love our life too much… when our focus is on OUR will being carried out, OUR actions being shown to our neighbors, OUR selfish desires being pursued, then we set ourselves up for an automatic failure. As the Lord tells us in John 15:5, “I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.” (NIV) And when Jesus says NOTHING, He means NOTHING. Nothing we put our hand, mind, or energy into can truly prosper in a Holy way, in the way of the Lord. Our mission is to do His Will, and to walk in His Ways so that He receives the glory that He is worthy, alone, of.
The wonderful things is that when we return to Our Father, with repentant, broken, and contrite hearts, ask for His merciful, loving forgiveness, He no longer sees what WE have done or said. He sees us white and pure as the driven snow. He sees Christ Jesus, His Son, Our Lord. And when we are redeemed, we don’t have to feel the pain of guilt, depression, regret, or anger over our forgiven sins. We are new. We have the guiltless, guiding Holy Spirit, God within us. And our neighbors can see the Lord shine through in our lives.
This Lenten season has been filled with trials and temptations for me, but falling on Christ, asking Him to replace my faults with His abundant ability, my difficulties and condemnation with His strength and grace, it has also been a truly rewarding experience, learning opportunity and a time of growth.
So let us pray, not just as we did the Fifth Sunday in Lent, but throughout the year – daily, as we did in the day’s collect : For God to bring the order needed to our unruly ways and sinful desires – He alone can give the us the grace needed to follow His will, to love His ways, and the wanting of His promises fulfilled. For in God only may we find the true joy – He alone is the key to a happy, love-filled, successful, and fulfilled life.
Because, just like our Lord, we too have been put here and now for a purpose, to glorify God’s Name in all that we think, say or do.