“My friends, if anyone is detected in a transgression, you who have received the Spirit should restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness. Take care that you yourselves are not tempted.”
When I was a child, my mother would spend time restoring antique furniture. The pieces she would acquire tended to be tattered and, in some cases, missing various parts. One dresser in particular was without a drawer and missing two of its four legs. It had deep rivets with imperfections in the grain of the wood and, in my mind, it was hardly worth keeping. Yet, my mother had an eye not for what it was in its current state, but rather for what it could be. The work itself was long and arduous. Hours of careful sanding and repairing led to the final stage of staining. Once dried, each piece of furniture would be restored to its original glory.
In many ways, Lent is a lot like the process of restoring antique furniture. As the Master Craftsman, God is inviting us to return to Him. And yet, this can be really difficult. We might feel overwhelmed with our sins and our transgressions. Filled with shame, we are convinced it would be easier if we were disposed of and thrown out like trash. And yet, what is the old adage? One man’s trash is another man’s treasure. What we might think is trash is not what God sees at all. To God, we are actually a prized treasure. He sees through the blemishes, wounds and deep scars and gently restores us to our original glory.
In John’s Gospel (John 8), we see Jesus confronted in the Temple courts with a woman who had been caught in adultery. The Scribes and Pharisees were eager to test Jesus on the Law of Moses. Rather than having her stoned, He gently reaches out to her not to condemn her, but to restore her to her original glory. Imagine how she must have felt. Filled with transgressions, Jesus does to her exactly what He does for us. He transforms our trash and makes us into a great treasure. This is what the season of Lent is all about.
“Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God Almighty, who was, and is, and is to come.”
Revelation 4:8, NIV