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Fifth Sunday of Lent - Cycle B

John 12:24


“...unless a grain of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains but a grain of wheat; but if it dies, it produces much fruit.” (John 12:24)


The above verse is one that has come up repeatedly for me this Lent; it’s become the theme of my Lenten journey.


I often find that I enter into Lent with an idea of what I might do in order to grow, but as soon as Ash Wednesday arrives the Lord reveals how He wants me to grow instead. That was the case this year. 


I had initially set goals such as lower smartphone usage, a Scripture reading plan, and volunteering and reaching out to the lonely and suffering more – tasks aimed at growing closer to the Lord and serving others. 


But as I walked to campus on Ash Wednesday, the Lord told me clearly that this would be a Lent of Him stripping away things – allowing them to die. My job was not to decide what would be stripped, but to obey – leaning into letting go and being transformed. He promised increased joy at the end of the journey; and new birth and a deeper union with Him throughout. So my season began with grateful excitement. 


Tears were not far off, however. First, the Lord told me to pray for detachment from a valued relationship. I obeyed and was graced with deep peace and detachment. The relationship ended shortly thereafter. Amidst the loss and grief, however, was hope in the Lord doing greater things, gratitude to have more freedom to pursue them, and an invitation into a new season of growth and intimacy with God. That same day, I also unexpectedly had a hard conversation with a good friend, which led to transforming my perspective and becoming more free, as old ways of thinking died.  


Jesus said, “Whoever serves me must follow me, where I am, there also my servant will be.” Although I still have done some of what I initially set out to do, instead of me inviting Jesus into my plans for Lent, He invited me to follow as He led. 


Lent is not over, the promised joy to come has not fully arrived; yet, the grains which died have already started to bear fruit in my life: peace, humility, better perspective, growth, and a strengthened relationship with God. Glory to God.

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