A Lenten Reflection – Part 1

by DanWolgemuth on February 23, 2024

Wednesday night I poured over the journal in front of me as I engaged for an hour at the “Biblical Stations of the Cross” at our church. Each Wednesday for four weeks. Fourteen stations. Fourteen reflections and passages of scripture.

I’m not sure why this is something new to me. Something unexplored in my evangelical past… but the freshness, conviction and power of this framework rivets my soul to the love, sacrifice and commitment of my God. And yes, it also exposes some hidden darkness in my own heart.

Whatever the reason for the neglect in the past, the present experience is profound. On the cusp of 69, I’m grateful that the Spirit of God still has me in His classroom.

On Wednesday, the second station that was identified was the “Betrayal and Arrest” of Jesus as described in Mark 14:43-46.

Judas, and the kiss.

For me, this is very familiar, but as I discovered, unexplored.

The note in my journal reads… “We greet Jesus with our affections, but our behavior and thoughts, our reactions and actions betray him.”

I worship, and then I walk away.

I praise in the congregation, and then I deny when I’m faced with real time reactions to news, traffic, offense, or disrespect.

In the quietness of a Lenten reflection, the primary villain in the story of Christ’s betrayal and arrest is not an outlier to my own attitudes and actions. The kiss of Judas implicates me.

I say this without false guilt or shame, but with a refined understanding of my own divided heart.

I kiss, and then I curse the culture.

I kiss, and then I overreact to being cut off in traffic.

I kiss, and then I live with a short attention span or overly thin skin in my own house.

I kiss, and then I post.

I kiss, and then I have a sidebar conversation that reveals my own self-righteousness.

I kiss, and then I simply do my own thing. I find my own way. I value my own comfort.

The kiss is not the problem… staying in His presence is. It’s Eugene Peterson who invites us to think about our lives with Christ in front of us. Always. Each conversation. Each interaction. Every thought… Christ in front of me.

Judas. The betrayer.

And yes… the vivid picture of what I’m prone to be.

I might have missed it before. But sitting in a darkened room on Wednesday night, the Holy Spirit made sure I didn’t miss it now.

“Christ, have mercy. Lord, have mercy. God our Father ln Heaven, have mercy on us. God the Son, Redeemer of the world, have mercy on us.”

On me…

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