The farmer from North Dakota shook his head as he looked out the bus window. “I don’t think I’ve ever seen so many rocks,” he said. We were in the middle of day three (or was it four?) of our pilgrimage to the Holy Land, and I realized that a farmer from North Dakota probably had a unique view of the landscape of Israel.
Rocks mean work. Rocks must be cleared before plowing and planting can happen. And the farmer was right: rocks were everywhere we looked. In the Parable of the Sower, Jesus talked about seed landing on rocky soil. Here was clear evidence that Jesus used common experience to get through to his listeners. They would have known exactly what he meant by “rocky soil.” Rocks dotted every green hillside, every lush valley. I don’t think I’ve ever seen so many rocks.
The season of Lent begins in a few short weeks. These 40 days of preparation for Easter have traditionally included the spiritual practices of prayer, fasting, and giving to the poor. We often describe the season of Lent as a journey toward the Cross, a path we follow to become more faithful disciples of Jesus Christ.
But that path can be a rocky one. The roads Jesus walked were not always smoothly paved. When we choose to follow Jesus, we accept the challenge of walking where we might not otherwise want to go. The season of Lent gives us an opportunity to examine our hearts, and to recommit ourselves to the Way of the Cross. This Way is often steep and difficult to follow. It may be littered with rocks that can trip us up if we aren’t careful. But Jesus leads us forward, giving us sure footing if we look to him.
Will you come join the journey this Lent, and learn what it means to be a disciple of Jesus Christ?
“Blessed is anyone who does not stumble on account of me.” – Matthew 11:6
You can find the original of this post on my church’s webpage under “From the Pastor’s Desk” for January 23, 2015 or click this link.