As you may know, my wife Cindy and I take turns planning a trip to some place different each year in celebration of our anniversary. And as more and more people have learned of our annual tradition, many have kindly recommended places we should go. In the past three or four years, the place most suggested to us has been...Iceland.
We have been consistently told how warm the people there are and how many interesting natural sights there are to see. But what has now convinced me to seriously consider Iceland as a destination one of the next times it is my turn to choose is that there are apparently some really interesting human sights to see as well.
Not long ago at Keflavik International Airport in Iceland, a man trying to fly from there to England was denied a seat because, in an attempt to avoid paying baggage fees, he simply wore everything he wanted to bring with him - layer upon layer of clothing. He wore his baggage because he didn’t want to pay for it.
If only that option was possible in terms of our emotional and spiritual lives - our self image, and our relationships with others and with God. But it’s not. In fact, the opposite is true. The more we wear our baggage the more we end up also paying for it.
Mid-February marks the beginning of the sacred season of Lent. This year’s theme at FCC will be “Crossroads”. Each Sunday, we will explore encounters in the Gospels where Jesus provides different individuals or groups with an opportunity to “take off their baggage” - emotional, spiritual, social and physical circumstances which have weighed them down in their own eyes or the eyes of society - as well as how those individuals or groups responded to that opportunity.
This season of Lent, I invite us all to do the same. Over the course of those forty days, let’s take an honest look at the baggage in our lives we continue to wear and the price we continue to pay for doing so. And then, let’s help each other give God, through Jesus’ example of compassion, forgiveness and mercy, an opportunity to take off at least one, if not more, of those layers.