I’m sure you will all agree that there is no particular skill involved in playing Snakes and Ladders, nor is special knowledge required; you are simply subject to the fickle forces of fate and fortune. I’m also sure that many of us regard our lives as a version of Snakes and Ladders: All of us are moving forward as best we can along some fixed route marked out for us. If fortune smiles on us and we do good deeds, then we get to climb the ladder of success and prosperity, quickly ascending the mountain of life.
But, as easily as fortune may elevate us to the higher tiers in life, a sudden turn of luck, ill health, the loss of a job, the cost of living, the challenges of marriage and family life can send us spiralling downward. We must start over again, determined to make it to the top, but always subject to the whims of destiny.
Lent is a time to remind ourselves that our lives are not mere matters of chance, that what happens to us is not the consequence of a cosmic roll of the die or spin of the wheel of fortune. “Look up!” Jesus says. Look up, for the Son of Man has been lifted up on a cross.” It is in Jesus, lifted up on the cross that we see what God’s own love looks like!
When Jesus died on the cross, that was the full and dramatic display of God’s own love. “For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that whoever believes in him may not perish but may have eternal life.” We are loved by the God who loved us so much that he gave his Son for us, a Son lifted up on the cross that formed a ladder to heaven.
Lent is the time to learn to love our souls more than our bodies. My prayer is that more of us will make a special effort to strive for holiness during the days of Lent so that we can truly celebrate the Passion, Death and Resurrection of Our Lord and Saviour.