Kathleen Giffin


Second Sunday in Lent – March 1, 2015
Genesis 22.1-2, 9-13, 15-18 | Psalm 116 | Romans 8.31-35, 37 | Mark 9.2-10
February 23, 2015

My basement is ripped apart right now, stripped bare to concrete and studs. The catalyst was a flood just before Christmas that required the panelling and carpet to be ripped out.

Peter said to Jesus, Rabbi, it is good for us to be here. – Mark 9.5

'Peter said to Jesus, Rabbi, it is good for us to be here.'

Mark 9.5

In the process, two significant fire hazards were discovered, one in some faulty wiring and another associated with the clothes dryer. Each had the potential to literally bring our house down. Neither was likely to have been discovered if not for the renovations we are now doing.

There have been times in my life when I have felt like my basement looks - stripped bare, all the pretty veneer gone, vulnerable. It is hard for me in those moments to find the good, to see God's action and the potential for growth and healing in the process and the suffering being experienced.

Yet there is something for me to learn in the similarity between those times of difficulty and the tear down and reconstruction of my basement.


Looking back, I see how often those difficult times are precipitated by some kind of crisis event, a loss or disappointment of some kind, a period of adversity that left me vulnerable to being negatively impacted by outside circumstances - in other words, a flood of some sort stalled me.

But here is the interesting part: again, looking back, I can see how often those times of difficulty uncovered a sin or weakness or a distortion that I had been blind to.

Pride was exposed, or a false need, or a kind of greediness - the hidden faulty wiring. In those vulnerable times it became possible to see the obstacle to my spiritual growth and to take steps towards change.

Paul writes, in his letter to the Romans, "Who will separate us from the love of Christ? Will hardship, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us."


In hardship and distress, when we are stripped bare and vulnerable, God who loves us is at work. The love of Christ is present and active.

Lent is a time we are traditionally invited to examine our lives so we may give ourselves more completely to God. There is a kind of spirituality that would say we are closest to God when we are on the mountaintop with him, that a transfiguration moment of seeing and feeling God's glory is evidence of our spiritual growth.

But Jesus took the disciples back down the mountain, back to everyday life and ultimately to the crucifixion. That is where our lives are lived, in the everyday and on the road to Calvary.

The vulnerable times of being laid bare and rebuilt are times of God's action, to be welcomed and not feared. They are times of purification, healing and growth by the hand of our God.

(Kathleen Giffin kgif@telus.net)