If a person wants to achieve a goal, especially a goal that stretches well beyond current capabilities, it takes hard work. One may perennially hear a parent’s or teacher’s reminder to work hard if one hopes to accomplish much in life. In his book, Outliers: The Story of Success, Malcolm Gladwell presents a rather interesting theory. Examine the lives of those you consider to be near genius level, gifted in business, technology or the arts. Look closely. There will be evidence of a life of hard work. In fact, Gladwell referenced what he calls the 10,000 hour rule: to do the exceptional takes 10,000 hours of work/practice.
When drawn to be part of the body of Christ, we seek communion with God and others. Yet given our propensity to place ourselves in the center of our personal universes, the realities of discipleship are a challenge. “It will not be so among you; but whoever wishes to be great among you must be your servant, and whoever wishes to be first among you must be your slave; just as the Son of man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life a ransom for many.” (Matthew 20:26-28 NRSV) To be Christ-like is going to take some work, some hard work and practice.
And this is the stuff of Lent: an individual and corporate focus to do the hard work of examining our lives and being moved to confession. When we combine the work of repentance with the practice of the presence of resurrection power, we begin to more deeply comprehend and experience communion with Christ and others.
On Lenten Sundays, starting February 26, we will see Christ at work, doing some hard work, and will consider how the call to do the hard work in our lives can create an internal environment that acknowledges the presence of the living Christ. The following passages and sermons will serve as our “work-out” guide:
February 26 “Hard to Imagine”- Mark 1:9-15 (40 days in the wilderness)
March 4 “Hard to Hear”- Mark 8:31-38 (great suffering in the future)
March 11 “Hard to Envision”- John 2:13-22 (clearing the temple)
March 18 “Hard to Understand”- John 3:14-21 (and the judgment…)
As we journey together, may we remain committed to the hard work of Lent to grasp more fully the good news of the resurrection.