Sunday, March 01, 2015


As we left the theater, I was giddy.

It was over a year ago, and Tracie and I had just enjoyed a date night to see the second film in The Hunger Games series. If youre unfamiliar with the series, it follows a young woman who is forced to fight other young people in a series of gamesset in a not-too-distant dystopian future.

I love good stories, and I love it when theyre told well. I had read the books, and I was very excited to watch the films. The second film ends abruptly and tragically. The protagonist has lost a friend, and she finds herself homeless, lost, confused, broken. But I was thrilled by it, because I know how the story ends. Sure, Id have to hold on for another year to watch the third of four films. I can wait, I told myself. The story is worth the wait, and they are telling the story well. I can wait to enjoy the ending.

We are in the middle of a season of 40 days46 days, if you add in the Sundaysbetween Ash Wednesday and Easter Sunday. Lent, as its called, has been around since roughly the fourth century. It is 40 days long because thats the length of time Jesus spent fasting in the desert. (By the way, Sundays are excluded from the count because Sundays are traditionally a day to feast on the Lords Supper. Nothing should interrupt this most important worship practice.)

During Lent we arent singing any hallelujahsongs. We arent singing the phrase praise the LORD.Why? Because were playing out the entire story. Were not skipping to the end. Its no good celebrating Jesusvictory over sin and death unless we also count the cost of that victory: hunger, testing, pain, suffering. Can you imagine how hard it must have been for Jesus to resist the temptation of bread after fasting 40 days? We have to take some time to consider that, to remember how great Jesuslove is for us.

We arent singing any hallelujahsongs because we are first plumbing the depths. We must realize our need for Jesus. Its hard to do that sometimes in a world that says, You deserve it: do whatever youd like.” “You dont need anyone else: you can do it yourself.But those things arent quite true. We are broken, lost, confused. We need rescue, and the more we do it our way, the more things get messed up.

We arent singing any hallelujahsongs because we need to press pause sometimes in life. We need to wait. We cant skip to the end of this story. We need to let it play out. And when we do, the hallelujahswe sing when we celebrate Jesusresurrection will be all the more joyful.

So lets wait. The story is worth the wait, and we have a chance to live the story well. We can wait to enjoy the ending.

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