The Fifth Sunday in Lent, March 21st, 2021

The Fifth Sunday in Lent

John 12:20-33

 “Whoever loves his life loses it, and whoever hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life.”

To say that this past year has been difficult would be a severe understatement. It is impossible to put into words how much each and every person has lost because of the pandemic. Now, as we enter Lent, we must begin to truly come to terms with the scope of what has transpired. When I first read this passage from John, I’ll be honest, I was very confused. My whole life I have been taught to love and appreciate life because it’s fleeting, because it’s temporal. But here, Jesus tells us not to. That is a hard command to take to heart, not to love life. But deep down, I think we all know that we can’t love life too much.

We can’t hold onto something so fleeting because it takes us away from God. By clinging to our own lives, we ironically end up losing them. If we focus too much on something that won’t last, we can’t truly find our way to God. I used to believe that Lent was a time of discipline, a season to draw closer to Jesus through self-control and restraint. To be truthful, it’s not. Lent is a time of reflection and a time of appreciation. We must reflect on our own lives and our own mortality; we must appreciate Jesus’ sacrifice for our sins. Lent reminds us of our own mortality, as does this passage of John.

By being reminded that we are born from dust and will one day return to that very same dust, we can’t help but realize just how fleeting life is. If we want to draw nearer to God, we have to let go of our love of temporal things. As hard as it might be, we have to let go. We cannot enter the Kingdom of Heaven or realize how deep God’s love for us is until we let go. By letting go of things that will not last, we are reminded of the things that do.

Stewart Miller