Confessions On A Lenten Billboard

I came into this world, as a sinner. I’m sorry, I know you don’t like that word. Nobody does. Though made in the image and likeness of God; I came into this world, as a sinner. It was already in my flesh, a foreshadowing of bad things to come, and a flashback to evils committed before my time. If I am being honest, really honest…well, is that possible? Knowing you’ll be reading this; assuming you do read it (but let’s pretend you won’t be reading this), then maybe I wouldn’t spill out all of my shame—suicidal, and cathartic. Suicidal, as it is the death of everything I pretend to be; cathartic, as it is the peace of salvation when I’m laid to rest.

The cacophony of our worldly pursuits is a bewildering assault upon the senses; I am shell-shocked in the midst of our wars, our competing ambitions. ‘Man for sale’, in the hopes of a slice of immortality, but this hope is turned to infamy—though this fact hides unrecognized, by the branded multitudes that ply themselves incessantly upon our digital marketplaces. ‘Oh, to be an influencer!’ The ravings of a meaningless existence; but for the fact that we are made in the image and likeness of God. But does even this fact matter? (If I fell in the forest would anyone hear me fall; and if nobody heard me, did I fall?!) Is an unknown pilgrim of any value? We cry out, ‘I must be known! Or what am I?’

I have studied theology, but I know carnality. I can recite verse, but I can live vice. Love inspires me to yearn, but in the moment of truth I only love myself. I have been given time, and so far I’ve mainly squandered it. How did this come to be? A babe with such potential, squirming in my mother’s arms. ‘Why, he could be anything he puts his mind to be!’ And yet, look! ‘Behold, the man!’ If I could be but a portion of the man who was beheld when those words were first spoken, so famously. Time is ticking, my friends, is it really so profitable to make our profit?

On a lonely road, in the middle of nowhere, they’ve erected a billboard, and only you and God will ever see it. You are free to market whatever you wish; this life of yours will be painted there to promote yourself as you will it. What are you selling now? Think wisely, time is ticking; come up with a good slogan that God will like. Can we trick him into buying us too? Even monks in the desert are selling themselves. Lord have mercy! Ambition is warring even in the lonely places, and in the solitude.

Lord have mercy on me, a sinner. Take me in your arms. Free us from the ragings of our minds. Soften the indignation that arises at the mention of our sin. Let us be honest with ourselves, if not each other, but hopefully with each other too; and especially let us be honest, with you! Our hope is in you…

~FS

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