When "Just As I Am" Isn't Enough

Ah! happy those whose hearts can break/And peace and pardon win!/How else but through a broken heart/May Lord Christ enter in? - Oscar Wilde

This morning I scrolled through the list of students and teachers who were gunned down two days ago at Marjorie Stoneman Douglas High School in Florida.   

Seventeen more lives to add to the over 138 students, teachers and staff who have been killed in 239 school shootings since the Sandy Hook Elementary School tragedy in 2012.  

I believe that there's a time for inspirational words, and we need to speak them.  But there's also a time for transformative action. 

You see, sending our "thoughts and "prayers" can be generative and life-giving, but I think most of us settle for "thoughts and prayers" because the transformation that would lead us to action might cost us too much.  

It seems to me that those of us who claim to be Christians spend a lot of energy talking about how we want the world to change, but most of us aren't willing to die to our selves in order to become the change we want to see.   

Theologian Will Willimon writes: 
"We may come singing 'Just As I Am,' but we will not stay by being our same old selves. The needs of the world are too great, the suffering and pain too extensive...  Everybody must submit to be made over.  Everyone must descend into the waters, especially the religiously secure and the morally sophisticated."
Lent provides us the space to reflect on how we might follow Jesus more closely as he leads us toward the crucible of the Cross, and ultimately to resurrection and real transformation.  

It's not an easy road, to be sure, but one that we must travel if we want to become catalysts for change, to become the very embodiment of the kingdom of God here on earth.  

May you find the courage during this season of Lent, and on this day when we are grieving once again, to submit to the Way of the Cross.  May you be willing to enter into the waters of renewal, and be resurrected.  May your thoughts and prayers turn into faith in action.  

And may the grace and peace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you now and always. Amen. 


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