During this Lenten season, a word that continues to emerge for me is vulnerability. There have been stretches this season where I know my inner reservoir has been thin, and I’ve been tired. Contributing to my tiredness has been extra energy required in rehabbing an injury, a full season of family life and ministry, and honestly, weariness from the current political climate. In my moments of fatigue, I’ve felt inadequate for certain ministry tasks, been stumped by various parental challenges, and felt unsure at times how to lead our congregation as a pastor. Another place of vulnerability has been our “Discovering the Mosaic” class. While I am greatly encouraged that our church is talking about race, culture, and faith, as one of the few people of color in our congregation, this has challenged me to open up more about my own story and pain. In this Lenten season, I have felt vulnerable physically, spiritually, and emotionally.
Is this a good place? While it doesn’t necessarily feel good, recognizing my limits has led me to stretch and grow in ways I probably wouldn’t otherwise. My physical injury has required me to literally stretch more than I ever had before! Being honest with my co-pastor has allowed me to hear his encouragement towards better self-care. My feeling of vulnerability has drawn me into deeper prayer: simple and honest prayers, spirit groans, and wordless prayers. I’m needing and noticing the grace of God more in my life.
In this place of vulnerability, I have been attracted to Jesus in a fresh way. In the gospels, I am drawn to his full humanity on display and his willingness to be vulnerable. While being the Son of God, in his humanity, Jesus was also confined to the ordinary human limits that we face. Jesus got tired. Jesus became thirsty and worked up an appetite. Jesus got frustrated at his closest friends and wept in sorrow when life went south. Jesus wrestled in prayer with his Father in his darkest hour. In choosing to become human, Jesus became vulnerable. Ultimately, Jesus expressed his vulnerability in stretching out his arms and giving his life for us on the Cross.
When I’m tired, when I feel vulnerable, I know I’m not alone. Jesus has walked in this fragile, broken world. I also know I’m not alone because God has given me companions on the journey. Following Jesus’ path, I can risk opening myself up more and more to God and to others. I take encouragement knowing that the pathway of the gospel which Jesus modeled is down and then up, death and resurrection, Good Friday and then Easter. While this Lenten season has been one where I recognize my vulnerabilities, this is also a season where I have expe
rienced afresh the grace of God and the power of new life. May your Lenten and Easter seasons be times of both vulnerability and spiritual renewal, lament and hallelujahs, death and resurrection, the full range of life that God desires for you and for me. In the name of the One who loves us and gave himself for us. Amen.