Why I’m a Loser and So Are YouFeatured, Meditations — By Michael D. Bobo on March 4, 2012 at 8:00 am
Lent is a season of learning to lose. This may not seem like a huge revelation for some, but learning to lose is a virtue for Christians seeking a well-rounded spiritual life. It’s true for our Lord and it’s especially true for us. We Christians occupy the gracious reality of the larger perspective. We encounter a history subsequent to Christ’s glorious return from the dead.
However, there must be a season of reflection upon his conflict with religious leaders, denial by his disciples and his torturous death. This annual reminder is a huge slap in the face to the prosperity-driven, consumerist Christianity that appears on television, floods American exclusivist airwaves, and likely indwells your heart and mine.
There are seasons in the scope of global Christianity where we lose. Sudanese women raped by fundamentalist militants profess the name of Christ, as do we. Persian pastors imprisoned and in danger of execution proclaim Him, as do we. Where is their triumph? Where is there victory? Lent explains this horrific reality for some of our dear African and Asian brothers and sisters.
There are seasons where the world is triumphant. Where darkness overshadows light. Where hate engulfs love. Life is not always fair and things are not always just. Loss is part of the paradoxical gain that Christ offers each religious year.
So, why would this harsh reality check be a necessary annual lesson for the Church? Isn’t the Church on Earth to help usher in victory, justice and truth? Isn’t the Christian life one of Spirit-filled conquest? Isn’t it what I call “the Christosterone principle?” It’s a tragic deception of many communities that mistake the victory after the cross for the totality of spiritual life.
Lent suggests the Divine response to this contemporary infatuation with celebrity, success, and winning. Losing is a necessary part of living the victorious Christian life. The cross is a means to experience the empty tomb. Jesus is our example in this, and I can’t think of a better person to illustrate a truth to us Christians. His path to glory was through suffering. I read and hear a lot about glory. But the suffering part, not so much.
Losing gracefully, patiently and faithfully is a necessary experience for the Church. This annual reminder is an essential humbling that prevents authentic Christianity from becoming a crusading, fundamentalist, “we’re gonna takeover the world” movement. Losing demonstrates the transcendence of God in His dominion over all creation. Rather than trust in our own resources, our own craftiness, our own methodology, we Christians have to cry out to the Lord for deliverance, for peace, for hope, for justice. We have to rely upon Him to be the Deliverer, the Peacemaker, the Giver of hope, the Judge of all humanity.
Is that really so bad? It hurts our fragile egos, for sure, but Lent situates us in a proper place of dependence. So, I propose, Lent and losing are essential and valuable after all for us today as a community of believers. Instead of dismissing it as an antequated ritual that serves little purpose, it is a crucial yearly reminder of our place in the cosmic scheme of things.
This Lent let us embrace our loss. For therein we triumph, prosper and grow together as losers.