"Jesus + Nothing = Everything" is the title of a book I have recently enjoyed reading. An extended meditation on the book of Colossians, written in the midst of huge personal challenges to the author, I was drawn to it by the title. At once a statement, but also a question. Is this true for me??
Lent is a season which is Given to us to test the truth of this Reality of our Faith. We follow Jesus into the Wilderness to discover whether it is yet true of us, that He is Our Sufficiency.
Through Disciplines of fasting, prayer, almsgiving and the like we are opened up to our Inner reality. The person we are when no-one is looking and our dependence or otherwise on the things of the world. Lent tests the reality of Faith. In a world where we have such an abundance Lent is Given, to reveal how much or how little that abundance is that which in reality we lean on. Would we happ'ly sell our possessions, give alms and follow him if he asked? Do we trust his promise of Heavenly treasure?
By letting go of things that we are so familiar with, that shape our world and view of it we are asked The Fundamental Question, 'Am I Enough?'
We have grown accustomed to reading the book of Job as if it is a treatise on suffering, in particular the question of Theodicy 'How can a God of Love allow suffering?'. But that reading and indeed the question itself reveal immediately how far we are from faith, that God is for us in our comfortable worlds, Not Enough. We need comfort, we need freedom from hardship strife and pain, we need good relationships and happy marriages, we need, we need . . . He is not enough for us. We don't believe that only when we have surrendered ourselves to him do we find the life we crave - we don't believe that our reality is but a shadow. For us it is still heaven and the Life of God in Christ that is the shadow. We ignore the first Word of Life, Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind and with all your strength - the All is too much for us and we have to share our love around and we love other things more and better - He is not enough.
In reality the book of Job is much more about the reality of our faith - Job is like Jesus in the desert - everything stripped away and then the mocking questions - Does God really care? If you only pull your moral socks up!! If you are the Son of God . . .
The Life of God in Christ is Everything - substituting Anything for this Life is Death
Lent is a Vital gift in which we learn to see more clearly the truth of this