In Babylon but of Christ

O righteous Father, even though the world does not know you,
I know you, and these know that you have sent me.
I made known to them your name, and I will continue to make it known,
that the love with which you have loved me may be in them, and I in them.
John 17:25-26

Lent is to remind us that it is all too easy to settle in here, to warn us that perhaps a “crippling wordliness” has indeed overtaken us…

This is what the Lenten Scripture readings and teachings are meant to correct in us.  They would teach us how we can live in the midst of Babylon and not be destroyed by it, even as Christ prayed:

My prayer is not that you take them out of the world but that you protect them from the evil one.  They are not of the world, even as I am not of it.
John 17:15-16 [1]

We are awesomely privileged people, chosen by God out of the world to be His.  With this privilege comes responsibility:  our loving Father keeps us in the world so that all may know His love for them.  When we fear, follow, or join the world we lose our potency because we lose our oneness with God, His people, and our true selves.  Lent is a needful, yearly gift.  It is a time when we engage in disciplines that remind us of our not-of-this-world-ness. And it is a time when we invite the Holy Spirit to show us the ways the world has wooed us, cowed us, or numbed us. We kneel that we might rise in joy as those who are kept, guarded, sanctified and sent by Jesus.

Come Holy Spirit, illuminate my heart. Show me any accommodation I’ve made to the ways of this world.  Search me and know me, merciful God.  Where have I deceived myself, justifying that which draws me away from You?  What habit, allegiance, or indulgence are you calling me out of that I might be one with You and my brothers and sisters in You? Lord, give me knowledge and power for full repentance.  Let this Holy Week be a time of full return to You, that I may be a potent witness of Your love to the world.


[1] Leanne Payne, Restoring the Christian Soul Through Healing Prayer (Grand Rapids, Baker Books, 1991), 226.
Painting:  Duccio di Buoninsegna, 1308-1311, Christ Taking Leave of the Apostles [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
Meditation prepared by Sarah Colyn, drawing on the writings and ministry of Leanne Payne