Disclaimer: I am in no way claiming to know everything about everything with Lent, the church year, or any other fasts, I’m just reflecting on some thoughts I’ve had during lent this year. Enjoy.
Lent is a really beautiful time, full of uniqueness of any other time during the year that I experience. Growing up I never had any understanding of the traditional Church calendar, only Christmas and Easter being the most significant moments of celebration within the church. Yet as I’ve grown older, I see that part of the rhythm of life walking with Jesus in my own spiritual journey has let me to see the great significance of the Church calendar, and how it can foster a new understanding of who God is through it.
Some things I’ve read recently through Upper Room, have described Lent as the “awkward” season, which I guess in many ways is true. Lent is one of the longest fasts during the Church year, which can have many challenges, depending on what type of fast you are doing. Lent leads us to the cross. Yet again. Separate from each Sunday being a celebration of Christ’s resurrection. We are lead on a journey of sometimes barrenness, cleaning, reflection, prayer, and sometimes great trial. Saying “no” to the “old man” of sinful nature is never easy. Fasting from things we enjoy gives us just a taste of the pain Christ endured, but really, can we compare not having meat and diary for 40 days to the suffering and death of Jesus Christ? Or the sacrifice of video games/sweets/facebook/television. Seems insignificant to me. Compared to the cost, yet shows us that at the same time.
This time, I’ve approached Lent differently than other times. Prior to Lent this year, I realized the depth of my need for being filled by God’s presence and His Holy Spirit, so there have been many things I “cut out” or limited prior to the beginning of Lent this year, which was needed because of the kind of work I do for the Kingdom. New habits during the day. New times of worship, praise, refreshment. I gave up something that actually seemed like it would be “easy”, but has turned out to be really hard… meat. Who would have thought? Anyway, instead of focusing on what I would give up, I added in a practice that has really opened my eyes. I’ve studied the Old Testament a little more deeply, and I’m still stuck in Genesis, but have a much greater understanding than I had before. All creation and history points us to the cross.
“All God’s plans have the mark of the cross on them, and all His plans have death to self in them”.
This blog isn’t meant to stir a theological discussion, so please don’t take it as that. God is speaking into our lives each moment, I believe, and drawing us to himself through many of the mundane, typical, every day things that we do. If I had not been more intentional about knowing him, I can tell you for certain that the difficult things I’ve encountered over the past few weeks would have been handled quite differently if I had not been in the place I’m in today.
Easter is near. I can’t wait. Honestly, it is a day I always have looked forward to. Spring, and new life are all around us, but also the celebration of victory over death, and the new life we have in Jesus Christ.
Well, that’s it for now. I’m looking forward to the tofu I will be having on my salad for lunch today. Should be delicious. I’m actually thinking I may order a steak on Easter, which I don’t think I’ve ordered a steak at a restaurant in years… hummm….