Go! for Lent Luke 17:14
The lepers in Luke 17 are not healed until they obey Jesus’ instructions to “Go, show yourselves to the priests.” When they start on their way they are still lepers who have no reason to present themselves to the priests, but they believe in Jesus enough to do what he told them to do—and that faith and obedience cleanses them. Maybe they didn’t believe with very great conviction, but they believed enough to go to the priests instead of just wandering off or going back home. And that made all the difference.
Lent is when we all think about our own sins and failings and how we can change. I, at least, am much better at the thinking about changing than the actual changing. I pray for forgiveness for the same failings day after day and year after year. I come up with different plans every Lent to really change my life, but like New Year’s resolutions, those plans usually fail and fall away from my heart and mind pretty quickly. I have given up grumbling, mean-spiritedness, and pints of Häagen Daz Vanilla Swiss Almond ice cream during past Lents but have not yet been cleansed from my inclinations toward those things. I have also tried the “more positive, less sin-focused approach” to Lent and taken on activities. I’ve read the daily offices, fasted on Wednesdays in solidarity with the hungry, read all kinds of books, and gone to every worship service offered at my church during all of Lent. Those things were all good in their own ways—both the giving up and the adding on of things—but I can’t say any of them was actually life changing. They are all examples of me trying to heal myself.
This year I am going to try to be more like these lepers were; I will try to listen closely to hear what Jesus is telling me to do, and then I’m just going to go and do it. The lepers didn’t have to work hard to heal themselves—God did the work for them. All they did was believe in Jesus’ word enough to move in the direction he pointed them. And that was enough.
Believe and go. Go even if you don’t quite believe. You never know where you’ll end up, but God does.