What will you read this year for Lent?
Many Christians don’t even bother with Lent, thinking that time of year is for high churches and the liturgicals. Some churches don’t bother with Lent because they’d rather not interrupt the series they already have planned.
But Lent has been a part of the Church life from the 2d Century on, and it’s a discipline and a season worthy of the entire Church. What is Lent? Essentially it is a time of preparation. As during Advent we prepare to celebrate the Advent of our Lord, so during Lent we prepare to enter in and participate in the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. In other words, it is a time for us to recollect our minds and hearts toward the saving events of our faith. The Church Calendar is designed to keep our lives connected week by week to the life of Jesus.
Traditionally, the Church has made Lent a time of fasting, and I have written about fasting (Fasting) and that is appropriate for the Lenten period. But there’s another theme worthy of our attention too: as the love and grace of God are supremely manifested in God’s taking upon himself our sins and carrying them away in order to give us new life, so we are called during this Lenten period to enter into that love by learning to love God and love others as an extension of God’s love.
Last year I was encouraged by the number of churches that used our 40 Days Living the Jesus Creed for Lent. So this is a reminder for those who are wondering what topics to ponder during Lent — one suggestion I have is that we learn the discipline of self-denial that leads to loving God more deeply and loving others more completely.