A Lenten Devotional, Day 15

This season, we’re blessed with a set of Lenten devotionals by contributing author Lee Hinkle.  Find out more about Lee at the bottom of this article, or at hinkledownunder.com.

Reading

John 1:1-14 (ESV)

Meditation

This is my favourite of the Christmas stories. It was a quick read and allowed us in our family to get to the present opening as quickly as possible. It is also perfect in capturing the essential story of Jesus, and His divinity and humanity.

Jesus left the loving dance of the Trinity to dwell among us. He became absent.

Today has been a day when the oppressiveness of absences has really been tangible. “And the word became flesh and dwelt among us.”—Jesus left the loving dance of the Trinity to dwell among us. He became absent. Not apart, but absent. (I know this is a meditation, and to dwell on how the Trinity works is mind-blowing and crushing, so we won’t really go there.) Did Jesus feel absent? Did He know that something was different?

We can be absent in many ways, or have someone else absent in our lives. Our sin can alienate us from those we love most. We could have fractured relationships that put us in the place of absences. We could be on the other side of the world from people we had shared life with for many years. It can be good reasons that make us absent, or it can be terrible reasons. But one thing I am pretty sure of is that, at one time, we have all felt the oppressiveness of absences. We have been overwhelmed by having someone not physically present. Those moments when we are caught up in grief because we think, “They would love this…” and we can’t let them know or have them with us. Those moments when they are the only one who would get the joke, understand what you were feeling, hug you even though it is not their way, drop by unannounced, and on and on.

We were made for each other; we are not creatures of isolation.

We were made for each other; we are not creatures of isolation. Sure, we might like to be alone sometimes, but we have “our people” who make us who we are. That is the oppression of absence, and it is not easy.

It is a comfort to know that Jesus has walked that path as well.

Prayer

Father, hold us in the emptiness that comes in absence. Be the One we can find comfort in, knowing that Jesus was absent from You. You have walked this path and know our need for comfort. Spirit, rest on us with Your gentle care. Amen.

Lenten Action

Think of a person who is absent in your life—that you physically feel it—and reach out to them. Write them a letter. You might not have a place to send it, but write it anyway and let them know how profoundly their absence affects you. Let them know that you are trusting God to fill that absence. If the absence is caused by a fracture in a relationship, then take the time to repent of your part in the division. Don’t allow it to keep you separated. Jesus experienced absence in order to crucify the hostility that arises between us.

• • •

Lee Hinkle is an American pastor who, with his family of 7, felt God’s call to pack up and plant a church in Fremantle, a town in Perth, Western Australia.  Last Summer, the Hinkles left Indianapolis and arrived in Oz to begin their work.  You can follow their adventures at hinkledownunder.com.

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