March 2022: Thoughts From My COVID Wilderness 2.0

You may remember that last month I wrote about the power of names. Particularly names that cause injury to another person or their reputation. Names intended to wound, sometimes causing permanent damage. It is a rotten business when we allow ourselves to participate in that behavior. Obviously, very un-Christian.

On Wednesday we begin our Lenten journey together. We will put ashes on our foreheads as a reminder of the fate that should be ours. From dust we came and to ashes we will return. However, it is a remembrance that reflects that sin, disobedience, pride, meanness and most importantly, death, does not have the last word. Our yearly pilgrimage begins with the darkness of death and sin, but it ends with an empty tomb, a Risen Lord, and light. So much light. It is a holy journey from brokenness to healing, and boy, do we need some healing. Therefore, we walk…

As we walk these next six weeks together, let us think about the power of names. This time, however, since we are on the road to healing, let us think about the names we are given in scripture by God and for Christ’s sake. Names such as “Ambassador” (2 Cor. 5:20). We are representatives of the Lord sent into the world on his behalf. Let us be good ambassadors. How about “Lights?” (Matthew 5:14, 16) The natural agent that makes things visible. We are supposed to be ambassadors and lights making God’s case and making God visible. THAT is a worthy identity.  

Forgive my non sequitur, but have you ever been in the desert at night? Away from the ambient light of the city with an unobstructed view of the sky? Or on a boat in the ocean? The sky is magnificent. Radiant with stars that stretch from one side of the horizon to another like a canopy encasing creation in light. It is in those situations one realizes that nighttime is not really dark at all. There are so many points of light piercing the darkness. Imagine if we were able to embrace our identity as “Lights” more fervently, we would be the points of light piercing the darkness of the last three years, especially with the situation unfolding in Ukraine.  

These names are far more potent than any of the negative ones we may have received in our lifetimes. Within these names comes our purpose and our mission. The world needs us right now. Really needs us to fulfill our calling as Ambassador and Light for the sake of the one who gave everything so that the darkness would not win. We have a six-week pilgrimage to walk together. Let’s make it count as we remember the most staggering name we are given by our God and Savior, “Beloved.”  Beloved of God, let us go out and Be the Church!