As I write this month our family is spread out over three different time zones, on two different continents. Alyssa is six hours ahead of our Eastern Standard Time, while Ryan is three hours behind in California. (Robin also happens to be in CA this week celebrating her grandmother’s 90th birthday.) As a result, we spend quite a bit of time calculating the time differences to determine whether it is an appropriate time for a text or a call.
However, we are not the only ones who are dealing the complexities of differing time zones right now. Everybody who his watching the Olympics are witnessing things that happen in the future, but in our present. Pyeongchang, South Korea is fourteen hours ahead of us on the East Coast. During prime time today, we are witnessing what is happening live the next morning in Pyeongchang. I suppose you could say that we are all looking into the future. Sort of.
A similar thing happens for us during the season of lent, as we move toward the reality of Jesus’ crucifixion, which happened over 2,000 years in the past, but has yet to happen this liturgical year. As we repent and reflect upon our sinfulness and need for the grace that God offers through the crucifixion, we do so in full knowledge that the resurrection is coming. So as we are looking forward to what will happen, we are aware of what has already happened. It can be confusing and a bit disorienting; like trying to keep track of the implications of Marty McFly’s actions as he goes back in time, in Back to the Future. However, what is not confusing is the love that God has displayed for all of creation through the life of God’s only Son, Jesus.
During Lent we are reminded of our mortality and our need for God’s forgiveness. But above all, we are reminded of God’s gracious love for us all. We began the season on the day that Hallmark deemed the Day of Love and it will conclude on Easter Sunday, April 1st. Let us not be fooled by the trappings of the cultural celebrations of Easter, but instead focus upon the gift of Jesus Christ, that was received once in the past, for us all throughout the future.
Update: Yesterday morning’s daily update from My Friend Who is Dying, from last month’s article: “A reasonable night’s sleep… hoping for a productive day… but, productive, or not, I have it as a gift…And I aim to enjoy it fully!!!”