Once more Jesus said to them, “I am going away, and you will look for me, and you will die in your sin. Where I go, you cannot come.” John 8:21
"Where I go, you cannot come."
In one sense, Lent is a fiction. We take on ourselves the discipline of an imagined journey with Jesus to Jerusalem. We enter the wilderness. We mark our foreheads with a cross. We draw courage as he sets his face towards Jerusalem. We make our token sacrifices as echoes of his unfathomable sacrifice. But across this well-intentioned path Jesus scrawls the words, "Where I go, you cannot come." His was a unique journey. No footstep of mine can fit in the shape of his shoes. We may walk in the shadow of the Cross, but he is the one nailed to it. So we dare not kid ourselves. "Where I go, you cannot come." The impasse draws us up short.
Now I can go to Father – at any time.
We cannot rush on ignoring this roadblock to our progress. Lent slows the pace. Dark drivers of the soul lie exposed. Illusions of hard-won sanctity crumble. We come from different worlds, He and I – he "from above" and I "from below". Left to myself I will die in my sins, he says. Awkward, brutal words those, but not his last word. "When you have lifted up the Son of Man, then you will know that I am the one I claim to be." No fiction this. Now I see. Because he has come from Father, now I can go to Father – at any time.