Welcome to the Season of Lent
Spring Training for MLB baseball is around the corner. Pitchers and catchers will be reporting to spring training facilities in late February in Florida and Arizona. Valentine’s Day is behind us, and it seems we just got all the decorations, lights and bills paid from the Christmas season and now, the season of Lent is upon us.
Just what is Lent and what does it mean? Lent is from an old English word “lengthening” which speaks of the days lengthening of sunlight as we move into spring. Lent is that 40-day period (46, if you count the Sundays in the Lent season), that Protestants and Catholics focus on leading up to Easter, the day Jesus rose from the dead. It begins on Ash Wednesday which is the beginning day of Lent for Lutheran and Catholic people with a cross smeared on their foreheads from ashes of palm leaves by a priest or pastor.
What occurs during the Lent season? The season is focused on Jesus' earthly ministry coming to a climatic end with the His Triumphal Entry on Palm Sunday, His Last Supper with His disciples on Maundy Thursday, His crucifixion on Good Friday, and the celebration of His resurrection on Easter morning. Lent is a time to reflect deeply on the sacrifice Jesus made by laying down His life to atone for the sins of the world. So, what do people focus on during Lent season?
Three ideas are emphasized in this season. One idea is to fast and pray. Fasting can consist of giving up a certain kind of food, or taking a day a week to go from breakfast to breakfast without eating. It could be fasting from media choices or social media. It could include going deeper in your relationship with Christ by spending more time in intercessory prayer. The second idea is to sacrifice something to focus more on the reading of scriptures during the time you would normally do the activity you give up. It may be reading and meditating on Isaiah 51 and other scriptures that prophecy about Jesus’ last week before dying on the cross. The third idea to consider for the Lent season is to give. That may mean working at a soup kitchen or volunteering for something else during this season. It may mean giving money to a charity. The important thing is that whether it is your time, talent or treasure, you are sacrificing something as you reflect on Jesus’ sacrifice for mankind.
Lent is to be as personal as each follower of Christ wants it to be. We reflect, we meditate, we commemorate Christ’s Holy Week in a variety of ways that is dependent on what is meaningful for the person who is focusing on the season of Lent.
Let this Lent season allow us to slow down and take stock of our commitment to Christ and refresh ourselves spiritually by being renewed in our walk with Christ as we meditate on the amazing sacrifice on Golgotha’s hill on Good Friday where Jesus said, it is finished and paid the price in full for your debt of sin and mine and made it possible to have an everlasting relationship with the God who created us and created this world.
Pastor Ed Hedding