Lent is for Everyone
Full disclosure – I didn’t grow up within a liturgical background. I wasn’t raised with any notable rhythms throughout the church – outside of Christmas and Easter. And yet, one of God’s greatest gifts to me in recent years has been the discovery and practice of Lent, along with other seasons of worship.
This might be the same for you, or it could be the exact opposite. Services with ashes and responsive prayers of confession may evoke different kinds of feelings and perhaps some level of confusion and discomfort. I get it.
While I want to be sensitive to this, I’d also like to make the claim that Lent is for everyone. The reason I say this is because Lent is less about following a specific tradition in church history and all about embracing rhythms of faith and renewal as followers of Jesus.
On Ash Wednesday, we set aside a day of prayer and fasting. As I look at my email inbox, I see response after response of people who sensed God working through this day to draw us closer to him and to extend his love and comfort to our neighbors. God is moving in incredible ways.
For those who joined us in prayer and worship at night, the ashes we received are our way of saying that we are not enough, but God is—which is why the ashes take the shape of a cross. However, for us to truly receive and confess this, we must first come to the end of ourselves, and that involves humility.
To this end, I invite you to join us in Lent (starting this week) through the following lens:
Lent is a time of repentance.How can you use this time to repent? We cannot truly appreciate God’s love without observing the cost, just as we cannot brush past our need for repentance. This is both individual and communal. Allow God space to work on your heart. Let’s make sure our hearts are right with him.
Lent is a time of preparation. After almost a year of pandemic and isolation, it’s fair to say we truly do not know what is ahead of us. Ask the Lord how you can use this time to prepare. How can you join with family and friends in a new season of growing in Christ?
Lastly, Lent is about mortality. It deals with the sober realities of life by reflecting on death, but specifically the hope we have in Jesus’ death. Since he died for our sins, the new possibility emerges for us to die to ourselves and allow Christ to live in us.
Death to self, and new life by grace is the background to the lingering refrain from Ash Wednesday: “Remember that you are dust, and to dust you will return. Repent and believe the gospel.” Stirring words for a new season.
– Pastor Cris
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