Promises made, promises broken. Promises regretted, promises treasured. There are many kinds of promises, aren’t there? Some cut deep to our heart; we make them and would never want to break them. Some are made flippantly, some solemnly, and sadly some are made falsely.
The flippant ones come in many forms. I promise you I love the Vikings more than life itself. I promise you won’t hate the movie that much. And, sometimes, flippant promises come in the form of a threat. Often used as a parenting technique. “If you don’t stop doing that, I promise you will be grounded for the rest of your life.” No one is grounding their kid for life. Even though, when it is said, we often feel like doing just that!
The false ones are easily said between siblings—“I promise you I will do the dishes next time if you just please do them for me tonight.” I remember saying it many times. Those promises were, I hate to admit, often more about a manipulation than a true intention. After all, who thinks much past trying to get out on a Friday night (as soon as possible!!) with friends when they are 16?! And…just to be clear…those promises worked both ways, my brother made many of those false ones too. I did double duty on dishes many times because I was gullible to his promises.
And then, there are God’s promises. God makes them in the form of a covenant. A promise that, on God’s part, can never be broken. Never. As in—n.e.v.e.r. Not ever. Those are the promises worth holding on to. Those are the promises that don’t look much like human promises. The risks in these promises are God’s. Not ours.
We hold a treasure trove of God’s promises within the sacred story of scripture. Some you know well, some you may have forgotten, and some you may never have thought about.
Pastor Trevor and I—along with the Zion staff and leadership are looking forward to a Lent of inviting you to hold on. We hope you will take every opportunity to gather with the beloved people of God in this place and wonder about the promises God makes.
On Sunday mornings, we will sing about God’s promises, we will explore the meaning of them, and wonder about how we each fit into them. On Wednesday nights during Lent, we envision Zion as a place of respite for you in the middle of the week as we gather for hot soup, warm bread, lots of smiles, some music, some art, and inventive ways of talking about, wondering about, and holding on to promise.
This Lenten season at Zion, we are holding on together: not in the sense of white-knuckling it; but in the sense of holding on by trusting in the One who holds us! Thanks be to God!