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Lenten Reflection, The Fifth Sunday of Lent

March 23, 2012

John 12:20-33
I live at the Priory Campus and walk the eight blocks down Division to Main Campus several times a day when weather permits. A few days ago I witnessed something really breathtaking on the walk over. Many will probably know what I am talking about when I mention the two magnolia trees on the corner of Division and Monroe. Yesterday when I walked by them around 9 AM the buds were closed but bright pink. I passed back through at 2 PM and the flowers were bursting open. I couldn’t help but be really joyful. I had practically seen Spring happen!

“Very truly I tell you, unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds.” This metaphor is Jesus predicting His own death while promising New Life – which is what Spring and Lent have in common. As I have journeyed through this Lent, I’ve thought about exactly that – the fruits that the Lenten experience brings. I believe sometimes we are conditioned to rush towards the end goal – Easter.  However, I feel that Lent has little blossoms of Easter all throughout the season. I see these rewards when my personal Lenten promises become a pleasure and not a burden – a chance to remember that I am being called to spiritual renewal.

The challenge is that I have had to remember to be intentional about these choices – to give something up or do something new because I know it is bringing me closer to God and making me more whole. Recently a friend told me that they at first felt guilty about not “giving something up”, but then realized it was not what they were called to this Lent. They were so right. I think it is important that Lent is not a commitment but a choice. A choice that reshapes our lives a little bit each of the forty days. So, just like the death and resurrection Lent should be a evolution of self that helps us seek New Life.

There is something magical about seeing Spring blossom before your own eyes.  When I saw the flowers open up, it was the process that made it so special. That’s what Lent is all about. Just like the ice and snow pauses us, so does Lent. It gives us the time to renew and replenish ourselves.

As we near the end of our Lenten journeys it is my hope that we feel the growth of Spring in our lives. I would like to challenge all of us to think every time we see evidence of Spring – to understand it as a reminder of the flowers that should be flourishing in our hearts, minds, and souls. I am just so grateful to live in a climate where I can feel, see, and smell Lent! I hope you enjoy it as much as I do!


Jamie Visser

Class of 2014


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