Pastor's Corner: Hurting? Make a return to your first love — Jesus Christ

Hello. First, let us continue to pray for the people of Ukraine. Over the last two weeks, I, like many of you, have shed a lot of tears because my heart is literally breaking for them.

The way their world has been turned upside down is horrific, to say the least. And, there seems to be no end in sight, at the present moment.

I mentioned at church on Sunday a quote by Rick Warren. “You never know God is all you need until God is all you have.” This most definitely applies to the people of Ukraine, and it applies to us today, even though we may not realize it until a tragedy happens to us.

Lent is the perfect time to meditate on that very quote — to realize that God is all we need.

As I sit down to type this article, I am struggling on what direction to take in the article. Then, I am reminded that I am probably exactly where I am supposed to be during this season of Lent. For it is in the struggle that we lean on God. It is in the struggle that we realize that God is the only One that can help us even in writing an article for a newspaper.

We do nothing on our own accord but only by the grace of God. I have a young lady that I zoom with once a week for a confirmation class. Her grandparents attend the church in Forrest. She lives a few hours away from here, but wanted to take a confirmation class. She is an absolute joy to meet with each and every week on Zoom.

On Easter Sunday, she will be confirmed. I have enjoyed our time together so very much.

She told me a story of a conversation between her and her friend. She told her friend she needed to go home because she had confirmation class meeting. Her friend responded sarcastically, “Oh! That’ll be fun.” To which she responded, “What do you mean by that?”

Her friend said, “I took confirmation, and it is boring.” She responded, “Well, it’s not boring with Lynette. We have fun. We even do rap (as in music), and I’m not talking about the sandwiches!”

To see her eyes light up when we get on Zoom lifts my spirits every week. She’s excited to learn about God, Jesus, the Holy Spirit and to grow in her faith. She makes me want to do better in my faith journey. Lent is a perfect time to do just that.

We find these words in the book of Revelations the second chapter verses 4-5, “But I have this against you, that you have abandoned the love you had at first. Remember then from what you have fallen; repent, and do the works you did at first. If not, I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place, unless you repent.”

Lent is a perfect time to remember our first love. If you’ve ever been in love, you remember the feeling you first have. You want to spend all of your time with that person. You feel incomplete when you are not together. Your heart literally aches inside your body until you see that person again. They are your whole world. They are the very air that you breathe.

Now, without sounding all “Hallmarky” (Yes, I just made that word up!), I believe you know what I’m saying.

When I was in high school. I used to say that Jesus was my boyfriend. My husband, Jim, says it’s hard to compete with Jesus.

I realize now that I basically was saying that Jesus was my first love. He was the very air I breathe. Then, life happens and we grow apart from our first love. We need to rekindle our first love.

One of the scriptures used during Lent is Joel, the second chapter. Joel 2:12-13 reads “Yet even now, says the Lord, return to me with all your heart, with fasting, with weeping, and with mourning; rend your hearts and not you’re clothing. Return to the Lord, your God, for he is gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love, and relents from punishing.”

To rend your heart means to break your heart in two. When God ask us to rend our heart and not our clothes this is what He means. To render one’s clothes was to show an expression of uncontrollable grief. When we render our heart to God, we do so as an act of repentance. To come to Him with a broken and contrite heart means that we are filled with grief at the fact that we have indeed lost our first love.

As you continue your Lenten Journey, I pray that you return to your first love. Let God take the broken pieces of your heart and make you whole again bringing you back to your first love, God Almighty.


Rev. Lynette Barnett pastors at First United Methodist Church, Forrest and Chatsworth

This article originally appeared on Pontiac Daily Leader: Hurting? Make a return to your first love — Jesus Christ