40+ Reasons for Lent

40+ Reasons for Lent April 4, 2012

An exaltation of tweets.

To observe Lent rightly, we have to be persuaded that we already stand in God’s favor.

Ash Wednesday reminds us to number our days. It helps us gain a heart of wisdom (Psalm 90:12).

We keep Easter to manifest and deepen our prior share in resurrection. We observe Lent to manifest and deepen our share in the cross.

As a focused pursuit of the fruits of holiness, Lent is rooted in union with Christ, who is our sanctification.

Lent is the season of blood and guts and flesh. It is the supremely anti -Gnostic season.

Some say Lent inhibits the church’s cultural impact. To that, there are three answers: Christendom, Byzantium, & Bach.

Lent is a pursuit of glory, because the Lord exalts those who humble themselves.

To observe Lent rightly, we need to be confident that the power to obey God is a gift from God.

Israel sought out and purged old leaven once a year. Lent is the Christian feast of unleavened bread.

For Christians, death is not end but beginning. Lent is an extended meditation on that good news.

Life is a Lenten journey through death toward resurrection.

Lent is boot camp for spiritual warriors.

Without Lent or something like it, the church risks falling into a victoryism without the cross, which is the weapon of victory.

Lent didn’t keep Christians from converting Europe, forming Christendom, building cathedrals, celebrating carnivale.

Lent is training in the fundamental Christian discipline of waiting.

Lent is preparation for martyrdom. Nothing is more politically potent than a martyr.

Like the whole church calendar, Lent inserts “the fact of Christ into the rhythm of seasons, weeks, days and hours.” –Congar

We’re hungry for all the wrong things. We need Lent to develop a taste for the fruit of the tree of life – that is, the fruit of the cross.

Purple is the liturgical color of Lent, a deep color of penitence, a lush color of royalty. Lent is for training kings.

The church year is an extended commemoration of the gospel story. Lent is long because the Passion is the biggest episode in the story.

An exercise in delayed gratification, Lent is profoundly counter-cultural.

Lent is catholic because it signifies our inclusion in the one, holy, catholic, and apostolic church.

Lent reminds us that the only God that is is the God of the cross. Lent is a prophylactic against generic monotheism.

Lent is not a withdrawal from history. The God of Lent is the God who enters time, the God with blood to shed for us.

Lent gives the only answer there is to the problem of evil: A cross that triumphs over evil, a death that tramples death.

Some demons come out only by prayer and fasting. Seems a good reason to fast and pray.

The Christian year has a rhythm, each season its own tonality and coloration. Without Lent, the year is bland.

Without Lent, how many paintings would have gone unpainted? How many cantatas left unwritten and unsung?

Lent tells us what time it is – the time between resurrection and resurrection.

Lent reminds us that Jesus didn’t go to the cross so we can escape the cross; He went to the cross to enable us to bear it after Him.

Lent gives us 40 days to contemplate the glory of the Crucified, which saves the world.

Lent is a focused effort to identify and smash idols. Lent is boot camp for Josiahs.

Lent teaches us that the Name we bear has the weight of a cross.

During Lent, we contemplate the obedience of the Son so as the become sons who honor our Father and fathers.

Lent rebuilds marriages, as we commune with the Perfect Husband who gave Himself wholly for His Bride.

Lent is a minor movement in the symphony of the church year, the dissonance that opens into the resolution of Easter.

Lent inoculates against sentimentalism.

Lent tunes us to the broken beauty of the world.

Lent strips off layers of self-deception and self-defense that screen us from the Risen Christ.

Lent is not for doing things we never do otherwise. Like Sunday, Lent is for intensifying things we do all the time.

The church year is painted in chiaroscuro. Without the darker hues of Lent, Easter is two-dimensional.

Lent teaches us to cross our eyes: “For if the eye seek good objects, and will take / No cross from bad, we cannot ‘scape a snake.” -Donne

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