You might have noticed yesterday was Ash Wednesday. That’s right, Ash Wednesday kicks of the beginning of lent. Lent is the span of time in the church calendar that starts with Ash Wednesday and ends with Easter Sunday This span of time is a way to remember Jesus’ 40-day fasting and temptation in the desert, and Easter Sunday commemorates Jesus’ resurrection from the grave after his crucifixion. Lent, then, is generally observed as a time for Christians to reflect, repent, and pray as a way of preparing their hearts for Easter. How does one observe Lent? Read this from Andy Rau, Senior Manager of Content, Biblegateway.org.
“Lent is about love, our Savior’s love and sacrifice for us. Jesus literally became sin for us, so that we might have fellowship with the Heavenly Father. “God, the Father made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf.” 2 Corinthians 5:21. Jesus’ love covers a multitude of sin. Romans 6:23 says, “For the wages (payment) of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
There is only one solution for the problem of separation from God. Some have tried to earn their way to heaven by working harder or being religious, but Hebrews 9:6 says, “Without the shedding of blood, there is no remission (forgiveness) sins.” Jesus Christ is the only answer to the problem. He died on the Cross and rose from the grave, paying the penalty for our sin. He provided a way for us to have a relationship with God. John 3:16 says, “For God so loved _______ (and put your name in the blank) that He gave His only begotten son, that if ________ believes in Him, ________ should not perish, but have eternal life.”
How can we fall more deeply in love with our Savior? During the forty days of preparation time before Easter Sunday? How can we prepare ourselves to be amazed by celebration day of victory over death, when Jesus rose from the dead? As has become my tradition here on my blog, I will offer resources and suggestions as well as share what God leads me to do as my “love offering” to Him. I will be praying for you as we journey toward Resurrection Sunday morning.
One of my favorite resources for lent is:
We need to ask ourselves five questions:
- When I wake up on Resurrection Sunday morning, how will I be different? What am I preparing for?
- Is there something in my life—a habit, a grudge, a fear, a prejudice, an addition, an emotional barrier, a form of excess that keeps me from loving God with my heart, soul, mind and strength and loving my neighbor as myself? How might I address that over the next 40 days?
- Lent is a time to listen to God, but sometimes God speaks through others, particularly the poor, oppressed, marginalized, and suffering. To whom should I be listening this season? How can I cultivate a listening posture toward others whose perspective and experiences might differ from my own?
- Is there a spiritual discipline—praying the hours, lectio divina, the examen—that I’ve always wanted to try? How might I alter my daily routine to include one of these disciplines?