As we address Lent’s invitation to search out more profoundly our need for forgiveness, that is made all the harder by our living in a culture that barely does penitence.
Getting it wrong the way we do is more than being ‘subject to minor discrepancies’, as one euphemism puts it. When Japan surrendered, at the end of World War Two Emperor Hirohito told his people the war had ‘developed in a way not necessarily to Japan’s advantage’ in a classic euphemism.

Lent sets the Cross before me, before which euphemisms for my sin as something minor or disadvantageous evaporate. The gravity of distrust, unbelief, pettiness and refusal to credit the achievements of others is to be weighed against blood shed by ‘the Son of God who loved me and gave himself for me’ (Galatians 2.20).

Jesus crucified is the place to see how we got it wrong, what that means to God and what it should mean to us. Ten thousand Christians knowing that, knowing deep down their need of forgiveness and how it has been supplied, could take this nation for Christ – his love burns brightest in those most aware their sins are forgiven!

All of which takes me back to the invitation of Lent to seek that ‘level’ ground at the foot of the Cross. There we are made one in seeing the affront our sins give to a holy God. There too is shown the unmerited love and forgiveness which energizes Christianity!

It is there for our taking, welcoming and application at all times, but it always, first of all, needs the unadorned admission that we got it wrong.

John Twisleton

Broadcast by Fr John Twisleton (Rector of St Giles, Horsted Keynes, West Sussex)
on Premier Christian Radio
DAB Digital Radio / Freeview 725 in London on 1305 1332 1413 MW