Today’s Word: ‘Marked’ as in… I’m a marked man. You’re a marked woman. We’re a marked people.
If the central message of the season of Advent (the four week preparation for Christmas) is “God With Us…” then the central message of the season of Lent (the forty day preparation for Easter) is “God For Us…” For a lot of us who may have grown up with the message that God is, quite frankly, “Out to get us” this may take a bit of unpacking. Let me see if I can help.
“God for us.” Let’s just hold that for a moment; let’s not rush it. “God for us.”
In fact, let’s repeat that phrase three times, each time emphasizing each subsequent word. Say it with me:
“God” for us.
Next, God “for” us.
Finally, God for “us.”
“God for us.” That’s the message of the season of Lent. That is the spirited oxygen that we breathe together that gives us life and more life. And after a long season of a global pandemic, the ravages of COVID-19, racial injustice, the unrest and reckoning, and a political season that threatened to undo us, if ever there was any really good, “this-really-changes-everything” news, this is it: God is for us.
The ashes on our forehead remind us that we are dust and to dust we shall return. We are mere mortal. That message is intended to unsettle us at least, and undo us at most. But it’s in our unsettled and undone lives that this good news also has the power to set us free from that which threatens to unsettle and undo us, and to set us free for all that God is up to in the world through us. God is with us, God is in our corner, by our side! God is for us.
By now, the ashes on our foreheads have disappeared; wiped off, washed away. But what remains, and will not fade is the good news that we’re set free as marked people, called to partner together for the dream of God, for the mission of God, for the party, the network, the dance, the commonwealth, the revolution of God that is always unfolding all around us.
We are marked people. God is for us.
What will you do with that good word today?