Feb 17 2021

Lent is our ‘Come to Jesus moment’

Throughout Lent, our weekly ePrayers include a special series of reflections on the upcoming Sunday readings. This reflection for the First Sunday of Lent is from Unbound preacher Father David Noone.

“Jesus came to Galilee proclaiming the gospel of God: ‘This is the time of fulfillment. The kingdom of God is at hand. Repent, and believe in the Gospel.’” (Mark 1:14-15)

I was visiting a historic cemetery adjacent to a church where I preached recently on behalf of Unbound. As I stood at one gravesite, a vehicle pulled up alongside me. The driver rolled down the window and identified himself as a descendant of the man whose grave I happened to be looking at. We talked a bit and the conversation turned to his own life and the difficulty of his struggle with COVID-19, personally and as a family man and member of his community. “I’m very close,” he admitted, “to having a ‘Come to Jesus moment.’”

The origin of that expression likely goes back to the kind of dramatic moment of conversion represented by an “altar call,” but today it’s often used in a more informal sense to describe any moment of realization and truth that requires a reassessment of priorities.

Sometimes, when a new Unbound sponsor is filling out a form, I’ll ask what led him or her to decide to offer their support for a child, youth or elder in need. Often, it seems to be the result of a sudden, intuitive perception, a moment of realization or an opportunity to express a deeply felt need to make a significant difference in another person’s or family’s life. I truly believe that to one degree or another, every sponsor who fills out a form does so as the result of a “Come to Jesus Moment” that I’m privileged to witness.

We have words in our language that seem alike and are often used interchangeably. For example, “remorse” and “repentance.” Both suggest that we’ve done something wrong and we won’t do it again. But, on this first Sunday of Lent, the repentance Jesus is calling us to involves a deeper inner change. Lent challenges us to discern if there is some more significant change we are being called to.

Let the discernment begin.

Please pray

Father, as we begin another Lent that one word, “repent,” says it all. Hearing it, help us to accept its challenge. Or, as another prayer puts it, “give us the courage to change what needs to be changed.” Amen.

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