One of the crucial aspects of Lent — the 40 days prior to Easter — is paying attention to who we really are. “From dust you came and to dust you shall return.” During Lent, in particular, we say, “Yep, that is absolutely correct.”
Paying close attention, however, does not then mean severely judging ourselves and pronouncing ourselves guilty. “Geesh, I am a no good human. Why would God ever use a clod of dirt like me?”
No, God already placed the judgment of our sins on Jesus on the cross. He now lowers the gavel and says, “Not guilty.”
But where does this incessant judging come from? Remember what the apostle Paul said in I Corinthians 4:
3 I care very little if I am judged by you or by any human court; indeed, I do not even judge myself. 4 My conscience is clear, but that does not make me innocent. It is the Lord who judges me. 5 Therefore judge nothing before the appointed time; wait until the Lord comes. He will bring to light what is hidden in darkness and will expose the motives of the heart. At that time each will receive their praise from God.
Today, the readings I am using for Lent combined Joseph’s rise to power from having been sold into slavery by his brothers, Jesus’ choosing the 12 disciples (most of them simple, hard-working men) and Paul, who was so amazed at his conversion, he calls himself the chief of sinners and one abnormally born.
Pondering those Scriptures made me say, “Father, how amazing it is that you choose me, called me, loved me. Just stunning.”
Yes, Lent is a season where we do consider that we are dust — mortal, human, fragile. That is all the more reason for we humans to say with the Apostle Paul, “For the kingdom of God is not a matter of talk but of power.“ I Corinthians 4:20
Not by might, nor by power, but by my Spirit says the Lord God almighty! Zechariah 4:6