Why Lent?

Hi,Y’all! How’s your week going? How’s your coffee supply? Yes, the answer to those questions are directly related.

As I try to be aware of the use of church jargon in my posts, I’d like to take a few minutes to answer what some may be asking: What’s the point of this Lent thing and why do I care?

Lent, the forty days before Easter not counting Sundays, is not something that Jesus ever told us to observe. Of course, he didn’t ever tell us to celebrate his birth (Christmas) or his resurrection (Easter) either but that hasn’t stopped us, has it1?

Jesus did however tell us to follow him and to deny ourselves and take up our cross daily as we follow him (see Luke 9:23). Being told to deny our self sounds harsh to our 21 century ears. Taking up a cross has become wearing a necklace or putting a sticker on our car. Just how many crosses do we need to hang around our house to make us good Christians? Now, don’t get your feelings hurt. I have a least a gazillion.

So, to help us get the hang of denying ourselves, the church came up with a whole season to do it! Most folks tend to approach Lent with the idea of giving up something we really, really like for 40 days only to gorge on it on day 41. But all that does is turn what is supposed to be a season of growth into yet another way to brag about our own abilities and self-control. Social media has proven we don’t need a special season for promoting ourselves. Social Media has also proven the necessity of taking time to focus on our dependence on God.

Denying ourselves isn’t saying we are worthless. It is the understanding that our full value, our pricelessness, is found in the image of God at the core of each of us. Denying ourselves is knowing we can only be fully, truly, really human with God and each other.

When we approach Lent as a spiritual growth activity by setting aside our immediate wants and desires so that we can make more room for the awareness of God’s presence in our lives, we maintain the right focus on God our Creator, all God has given us, and all that we are able to do with God’s help.

If we can with God’s help give up those things that are harmful to us, whether physically, emotionally, or spiritually, for 40 days, we learn we can with God’s help do without them forever.

And so, in place of whatever it is you give up, spend that time/energy/money doing something that will strengthen your relationship with God, in study, prayer, meditation, and service to others. Make this Lent a time of renewal, to go deeper as followers of Jesus, to make our Christian life our whole life, giving all of ourself over to God’s transforming power.

Let’s journey this Lent together, with intentionality, and with God. If you haven’t already signed up to receive these blog posts in your email, I invite you to do so and join in on the conversation. I really do want to hear your thoughts and comments. Between now and February 17, I’ll post a few more “getting ready” before starting daily posts for the 40 days of Lent. And, I’d really appreciate you sharing this blog with your family and friends, if you are so inclined.

1The only things Jesus tells us to observe is the Holy Eucharist (also known as the Lord’s Supper or Communion), Footwashing, and Baptism.

3 thoughts on “Why Lent?

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