Fifth Sunday of Lent | Kelsey Spinnato

Psalm 126
Isaiah 43:16-21
Philippians 3:4b-14
John 12:1-8

As a college student, I find that my culture demands that I find my worth in my successes and my pedigree. I have to be proud of from where I came. I have to work hard in school, in extra-curricular activities and at my job to prove my worth and myself. Only through this hard work can I move up in the world and bring even more worth to myself. There is no limit to how hard I can push myself and how high I can climb the social and professional ladder. If I am satisfied, however, with where I am, my culture deems me lazy, a failure.

Paul, in Philippians 3:4b-14, gives us a great reminder about how we ought to live our lives. He implores us to count all that we may boast in as loss because, when compared with Christ Jesus, it is nothing. Paul is offering us a counter-cultural message that can bring us relief and true worth.

This is hard for us to do on daily basis, being so consumed with our own lives, and our culture tells us to boast in our own achievements, in our families, and in our wider communities, just as Paul’s culture told him to boast in his upbringing and way of life.

The season of Lent is a time for us to take Paul’s admonition to heart every day. We can practice, on a small level, self-denial. The season of Lent is itself a reminder of what we ought to do every day of our lives. Paul says, “For [Christ’s] sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ and be found in him” (Philippians 3:8b-9b).

As you prepare your heart for Holy Week, remember that the sorrow and pain of Good Friday leads to the joy and restoration of Easter Sunday. In order to participate in the power of Christ’s resurrection, we must also “share his sufferings, becoming like him in his death” (Philippians 3:10b). We cannot be Easter Sunday Christians only; we must also be Good Friday Christians. Faith in Christ is what brings us righteousness, not our own works or status. To join with Christ in that righteousness, we have to deny ourselves and suffer the loss of all those things that once brought us such pride. Those things may not be as impressive or powerful as Paul’s résumé, but to each of our own hearts, they can be just as detrimental.

KELSEY SPINNATO
Senior, Biblical Languages and English Writing

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