Here we are again. Lent.
Lent, means forty.
Moses was forty days on Sinai with the Lord.
Jonah preached repentance to Nineveh for forty days.
Ezekiel laid on his side for forty days, prophesying to God’s people about their sins.
Elijah was forty days without food or water on Mount Horeb.
Jesus had forty days in the wilderness, fasting and being tempted by the devil.
Trials, testing, temptation. Revelation, forgiveness, provision.
Neither of us grew up in a liturgical tradition. For the past 5 years or so, we’ve gotten increasingly into it. It started with one thing. Then another. It’s always fascinating to reflect on how the Lord leads us. Green pastures and still waters. Sometimes the Valley of the Shadow.
So what’s the big deal about Lent anyway? Why go through all the trouble? Let’s be honest: It’s complicated. It’s awkward. It’s inconvenient. It’s so very traditional and steeped in ritual. Why do it?
Here’s how I can best explain it: Recently on social media an acquaintance posted a picture of Christ’s empty tomb. And he said that as Christians we’ve been carrying around and clinging to the wrong symbol. Christianity is about freedom and new life. So, we should trade in our crosses for empty tombs. The replies were all Amens and affirmations.
My heart sunk into my gut.
We are fooled into thinking we can have the power of His resurrection and neglect the fellowship of His sufferings. We want to live in freedom, but not take up our crosses daily and follow Him. The Sermon on the Mount is fantastic until you start talking about the promise of testing and persecution. We want “Jesus paid it all” but not “fill up what is lacking in the suffering of Christ.”
What is Lent? It’s….
It’s facing hard truths.
Intentionally leaning into Jesus.
It’s accepting our humanity.
Accepting Jesus’ humanity.
It’s working out our salvation with fear and trembling.
It’s failing and realizing that grace is enough.
It’s walking the road of the cross in order that we may live in the power of the empty tomb.
It’s being the Beloved Disciple who did not run away at Christ’s suffering, but remained steadfast until the end.
Lent is a school of grace. And what is grace, but to participate in the life of Christ.
Why do we do this thing? We fast. We pray. We go to church more often. We light more candles. We clean up our messes and declutter our homes and hearts. And if we do it right, by the time Resurrection morning comes around and we shout HE IS RISEN we know it is true. And we know why it’s true. We know that if we are crucified and buried with Him we will also rise with Him and live in Him. And in Him we have our very being.
So, here we are again. And there is some trepidation. We’ve got some butterflies. What is Jesus going to reveal in this season? In what way will we be drawn into His heart more and more this year?
Maybe you have never done this Lent thing. Maybe you even think it’s a tad weird or unnecessary. But there’s also a curiosity. A little part of you wants to experience it. We invite you to join us this Lenten season. Let’s lean into Jesus together.
Links to help you on your journey:
Radiant! Inside and Out! (Spring Cleaning for heart and home)
Ashes to Glory: An Easter Devotional on DVD (We’ve been using this with the kids for the past several years. It’s excellent for the whole family!)
Bringing Lent Home with Mother Teresa: Prayers, Reflections, and Activities for Families (Daja did this two years ago and Kristina did it last year. It’s wonderful!!!)
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Here we are again. Lent. Lent, means forty. Moses was forty days on Sinai with the Lord. Jonah preached repentance to Nineveh for forty days. Ezekiel laid on his side for forty days, prophesying to God’s people about their sins. Elijah was forty days without food or water on Mount Horeb. Jesus had forty days […]