I came across this picture the other day. How would you like to live at the intersection of Easy Street and Shamrock?!! Could it get any better than that? Having just observed St. Patrick's Day I think not.
However as we are observing the season of Lent we have to pause and ask ourselves the question, "Is life about finding Easy Street? I think Lent is fashioned to serve as a reminder that in this world there is no Easy Street because there is no bypass to suffering.
That's a message not easily received. Wouldn't we like to bypass suffering, get so lucky as to find a shamrock and avoid the messiness of life? Lent redirects our attention to look further on down the road and we need to look no further than Jesus and his disciples. Half of the gospel of Mark is Jesus preparing his disciples for his trip to Jerusalem and his fated execution on the cross. No Easy Street for this Messiah. His disciples didn't understand because they thought the Messiah was destined to enter Jerusalem to the tune of "Good ole days are here again." Even those closest to our Lord, his disciples, couldn't comprehend what it meant that the Messiah would be the Suffering Servant." One theologian I have read affectionately calls them the fallible faithful.
To be fair, I think there is something about the notion that suffering leads to redemption that gets us most of the time. I often point out that we love Psalm 23, The Lord is my Shepherd, yet we bypass Psalm 22, My God, My God, why have you forsaken me. Once I emphasized this point to a group by reading Psalm 23 and then Psalm 22 and 23 together. When I asked the group what it sounded like combining the two Psalms together, one participant said, "my mind just wanted to bypass Psalm 22 to get right to Psalm 23.I understood.
Lent won't let us bypass Psalm 22 and its witness to suffering. But there is good news there. The good news is that there is redemption in suffering. This is the message of the cross and resurrection!