We live in a world where we can be easily overwhelmed and tempted by a dizzying array of colors, sights, and sounds. Lent provides an opportunity to step back. To look. To listen. To ponder. To go beyond what overwhelms and tempts us.

As we journey to the cross, let us make space for what our souls truly long for: the love and grace of Jesus Christ to whom all hearts are drawn.

What catches your eye? What captures your imagination? What tugs at your heart?

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Some Greeks were among those who had come up to worship at the festival. They came to Philip, who was from Bethsaida in Galilee, and made a request: “Sir, we want to see Jesus.” Philip told Andrew, and Andrew and Philip told Jesus.

John 12:20-22

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The city I live in used to have a weekend long music festival each summer. Crowds would roam the streets for hours, checking out one-hit wonders and rising stars, knowing that quite often those shows were more memorable each year than even the Grammy-winning headline act.

In today’s reading, crowds gather in Jerusalem for the festival of Passover, the celebration of God delivering Israel from slavery in Egypt. As crowds roam the streets, some visitors hope to catch a rising star. “We want to see Jesus,” they say.

What drew them to Jesus? His miracles and healings? His stories of God’s radical love and grace? His bold and yet peaceful presence? All of the above?

Perhaps we are drawn to Jesus for similar reasons. We hear what he did, what he said, and we say to ourselves, “I want to see more.”

When it happens, follow that impulse! Because when we see Jesus — and get to know him — he invites us to take an active part in God’s most memorable show of love and grace.

Ben Acton

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Dear God, I want to see you and know you. Help me to have a clear vision and strength to follow Christ so that others might also see Christ in me. Amen.

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You have come to read, to listen, to reflect, to pray. You have come to consider the deep longing of your soul and to consider what draws your love, your trust, your service.

So now, go!

Go, knowing that the One to whom you are drawn is never far from you;

Go, trusting that the gifts you have been given will be up to the task;

Go, drawing others by the kindness of your words and actions into the always welcoming love and grace of Jesus Christ, who, through the cross, draws the world to himself.


Ben Acton

Ben Acton is the Associate Pastor for Education and Youth Ministries at Southminster Presbyterian Church in Birmingham, Alabama, where he lives with his wife, Rachel, their son, Nate, and Lucy, the wonder dog. When he isn't trying to make the world a better place by empowering youth to speak and the church to listen, Ben likes reading comic books, watching Auburn football (War Eagle!), and drinking Diet Coke. Lots of Diet Coke.

Wondrous Love: Jesus, Keep Me Near the Cross

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