"A Pastoral Message for Lent" - February 2021
Pretend a person who had very
little exposure to Christianity and the
church asked you the question, “What
is Lent?” How would you answer? What
would you say in order to answer in a
concise and thoughtful way? Here is
what I would say about this season of
the church year we have just begun in
preparation for Holy Week and Easter.
Lent is about rediscovering God and
uncovering our true selves before God.
And I believe we do that by setting
aside the fig leaves we have been
hiding behind. Just about all of us have
a whole collection of fig leaves.
In the book of Genesis, Adam
and Eve are featured sewing fig leaves
together to create makeshift garments
to wear. They do this when their eyes
are opened and they discovered
themselves as being naked before God
and one another. Adam and Eve’s
predicament is clearly evident. God has
come in search of them and calls out
for them, “Where are you?” The
answer, “I heard… I was afraid...I was
naked...I hid...I ate…”
Dr. Walter Brueggemann wrote
a commentary on this section of
Genesis and pointed out , “Their former
attentiveness to God’s call and to God’s
directives has been relinquished. Now
the preoccupation is I. Now the central
focus of life is not God’s will but me.”
Trying to protect themselves from the
reality of this truth, they hid behind fig
The experience of Adam and
Eve has also become the experiences of
each of us. We are Adam. We are Eve.
We have sinned and are culpable
before God. But rather than succumb to the temptation to hide behind fig leaves, we can use
the occasion of Lent to make sure that the masked
truth of who we are can be acknowledged before
God, and then be transformed by God’s grace.
What fig leaves are you hiding behind? What
are the things in your life you need to change or let
go of; in order to be clothed again in the white
garment of grace? Think about it. Perhaps it is a
failure to think before you speak, or leave unsaid
those words that might offend other people. Perhaps
it is your inclination to be very controlling and want
everything your way. Perhaps it is your always
wanting to play the “blame game” and finger point.
Or maybe it is your unwillingness to forgive others,
or yourself. The call of Lent is for us to stand naked in
truth before ourselves and God.
In that story from Genesis, which is full of
meaning, the serpent, with his slick cunning words
plants doubts in the mind of the woman. He
contradicts God and suggests options for Adam and
Eve that are outside the options God had stated—
and they choose them. After that, the serpent
disappears. Its work is done, but humankind will
forever live with the consequences of mistrusting
God. Even though humankind chose to listen to a
voice other than God’s God does not disappear from
On the contrary, God will come seeking out
God’s people; offering forgiveness, grace, and
ultimately redemption in the person and the Gospel
of Jesus Christ.
May you have a productive and fulfilling Lent.
A Mighty Fortress is Our God,
Rev. Leigh Pezet, Pastor