Each year in Lent, I am thankful for the opportunity to think deeply about my relationships, both with others and with God. This year I am finding myself keenly aware of this: all of us need to experience the nearness of God. When I look out at the landscape of my own relationships, I can see those mountaintops and valleys of my faith journey, where I have felt very close to or very far from God’s presence. I have often felt closest to God through the love shared by friends or family, or in worship. It is ironic, though, that through the words and deeds of these same people, I have also experienced what felt at the time like the complete and total absence of God.
This leads to what is a difficult reality to encounter: our relationships are not perfect because we too are not perfect. No matter how hard we try, we cannot live or speak perfectly in our lives of faith. Nobody can. And yet, even as we come face to face with this truth, we are also welcomed into the full knowledge of who we truly are: while we are indeed broken people, we are also people who have been made whole through the love of God in Christ. All of us.
How might this help us in our relationship between God and others? Plant this truth deeply in your hearts: there is nothing in this world that can stop God from loving you. Nothing. Let it blossom into a harvest of God’s faithfulness in your words and deeds. Remember God’s patience, kindness, compassion, and steadfast love given without strings attached, and give it away in the exact same way in all your relationships. In this way, you will help others experience the nearness of God.