40 Day Journey with Our Neighbors in Solidarity
Week 6: Lutheran Campus Ministry (LuMin)
Written By: Pastor Kristen Eisele – USD Luther Center
Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, we must get rid of every weight and the sin that clings so closely, and run with endurance the race set out for us, keeping our eyes fixed on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of our faith. For the joy set out for him he endured the cross, disregarding its shame, and has taken his seat at the right hand of the throne of God. Think of him who endured such opposition against himself by sinners, so that you may not grow weary in your souls and give up. (Hebrews 12:1-3)
“Endurance” is a big theme for college students. There are the long hours of studying, the jobs and the internships to endure. There’s the distance from home, the not-so-home-cooked food, and the crazy expense of laundry to endure. There are changing relationships, changing majors and changing expectations to endure. “Hang in there!” we say. “The weekend is coming. In-unit laundry is coming. Graduation is coming.”
Seems like “endurance” has been a big theme for everyone lately. That’s what living through a global pandemic feels like: endurance. “Hang in there!,” we tell each other. “Lower case loads are coming. A vaccine is coming. Something more like normal is coming.”
“Endurance” is also a big theme in the Christian life, generally, and maybe especially during Holy Week. Jesus is on the way to his cross, and we’re called to take up our crosses and follow. What does it take, this endurance? What helps us “hang in there”?
The author of Hebrews has some ideas.
“since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses”: however else this endurance happens, it happens in the company of others. We do it together, leaning on one another for encouragement and strength.
“we must get rid of…the sin that clings so closely”: our endurance is made possible by our repentance. We confess and we commit to change, and each time we do that, we’re reminded that God forgives us and makes us new.
“Keeping our eyes fixed on Jesus…so that you may not…give up”: wait. Is this a religious pep talk? Is that the best we can do? We tape up a stellar motivational poster with a picture of Jesus and hope that will inspire us?
In a word: no.
“For the joy set out for him he endured the cross, disregarding its shame, and has taken his seat at the right hand of the throne of God.” Jesus endured the cross, and claimed his joy. Jesus endured, and so we are assured that we are never alone in our own enduring. Jesus endured, and so we are assured that when we can’t endure any longer, he’ll be there.
Jesus endured, and so we are assured that “enduring” is never the ending. “Hang in there” is not the last word. Joy is the ending. Life is the last word. Hang in there, church: Easter is coming.
Dear Jesus, I’ll never know just what it cost you to endure your cross. Give me strength and courage to endure my own, knowing that joy and new life are coming. Amen.
What have you been enduring this Lent? What joys are you anticipating? Where have you seen Jesus in this?
Make a list (physical or mental) of at least five things you have endured or are enduring this season. About each one, pray, “Thank you, God, for being with me as I endure________. Help me find my way to joy. Amen.”