God is near.
God is powerful.
God is abundant.
These are three simple and profound confessions about God. As we come to know God in these three ways through Jesus, our eyes are opened to who we are apart from Him.
When Israel was making their way through the desert wilderness on their way to the Promised Land, God was powerfully and abundantly present every step of the way. Among other things, His presence was represented by the Tabernacle, which was called the "tent of witness.” It was a constant reminder of God in their midst. They would set it up in the wilderness and worship God.
For the church, God's presence is seen and experienced by the presence of the Holy Spirit who has been given to Jesus’s followers. Paul goes so far as to call our bodies “temples of the Holy Spirit,” (1 Corinthians 3:16; 2 Corinthians 6:16). We experience God’s powerful and abundant presence personally and as a community. BOTH!
In Christ, we aren't striving to get close to God. God is near to us.
In Christ, we aren’t trying to be strong. God is strong given to us.
In Christ, we aren’t scraping by a meager existence. God is the abundant life.
God with us!
Lent is a time to be reminded of God's presence, even if we have to get honest about our distractions; be reminded of His power, even if we have to be honest about weakness; reminded of His abundance, even if we have to be honest about our weaknesses.
You don’t rush through God’s presence. You don’t presume upon God’s presence. You dwell with God. It’s a relationships, not religious ritual.
As Stephen reminds the religious leaders in his speech, “The Most High does not dwell in houses made by hands,” but in His creation made by His Word, and saved by His Word!
Next Sunday is Palm Sunday. As Jesus enters Jerusalem, so He enters our hearts and communities. He has come to be powerfully and abundantly near to us.
He is God’s promise fulfilled!