Reflections on Jesus, Lent and the Boston Marathon Bombing Trial

In a Federal courtroom in Boston, one of the more significant trials of our Commonwealth (and our common good) is underway. Opening statements offered a few surprises and perhaps a sigh of relief when the attorney for Dzhokar Tsarnaev began her statement by saying “it was him.” What she said next, however, raised an important question, not just for the trial but for all of us to ponder. Attorney Judy Clarke said that the younger of the two brothers was under the influence of his older brother, swept up and swept along on a path that led him to participate in an unthinkable crime, one difficult to forgive.
Putting aside for the moment the merits of Ms. Clarke’s argument, it did cause me to ponder the truth that all of us are influenced by a myriad of forces both external and internal—many good, some evil. And to ponder how we are to shape our lives so that the good has more influence than the bad.
On Sundays we usually talk about following Christ. For me, following is not just walking along behind him, but rather opening my heart and mind—the full spectrum of my life—to being influenced first and foremost by him. To allow myself to be swept up and swept along on a path that takes me to places of beauty, truth, justice, compassion and mercy.
Lent is a time where we are called upon to reflect and contemplate. I pray that each of us might take some time to seriously think about the things that influence or sway us. The people, activities, news and more that consciously or subconsciously shape the way we live and look at the world. And more than anything, I pray that each of us will more intentionally set our eyes on the life, ministry, teachings, healings, death and resurrection of Jesus, that it might transcend all other influences. Because his path is the path of life.
–Pastor Brent