Our Lenten Devotion for Monday, March 21, comes to us from Steadfast Love which features reflections and prayers by Ed Arle and Gil Duchow with inspiration from the works of Henri J.M. Nouwen.
3 Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead. 1 Peter 1:3 NIV
“The central message of the Gospel is that God sent his beloved Son to forgive our sins and make us new people, able to live in this world without being paralyzed by
self-rejection, remorse, and guilt.”
(from Peacework by Henri J.M. Nouwen, page 63Henri)
“New birth.” “Living hope.” Those are words that bring new meaning to life … when we find that life in Jesus. I’ve heard it said: “If Jesus isn’t real, nothing matters; if Jesus is real, nothing else matters.” St. Paul put it this way: “For me to live is Christ …” While Lent is indeed our time to remember the sin that brought Jesus to the cross, it is even more our time to think on God’s wondrous love and the “new birth into a living hope” we have been given in resurrection.
Jesus didn’t just die on Good Friday, rise up again on Easter and leave us behind. Jesus died on Good Friday, rose again on Easter and came back to life for us. He came to breathe his life into us, to give us a new birth and living hope that no one could ever take away.
This miracle of “New Life” through Christ is truly beyond complete human understanding. But that doesn’t make it any less real. Occasionally, I experience a tiny glimpse of what “new life” might be like when I am touched by a particularly beautiful experience in nature or a profound occasion of human compassion. Those moments strengthen my faith in God through Christ and call me to trust in the “New Life” we have been promised.
Dear Heavenly Father, now when I hear the “happy birthday” song sung, may it forever remind me of the day I was given new life in your Son, Jesus. Amen.