The season of Lent began this week with Ash Wednesday. Lent, a forty day journey with Jesus, is a time of preparation. During this time we make space to pause, reflect, strengthen ourselves for the journey to come. This time of space comes to a climax with the events of Holy Week, and finds it’s wondrous end with Jesus’ resurrection on Easter. It is absolutely my favorite time of the Church Calendar. Lent is what Advent should be, if commercialism hadn’t ruined Christmas 1.
By nature, I’m a reflective soul. I often see myself walking through the desert on my spiritual journeys – following Jesus in joy but frighteningly aware of the wilderness threatening to creep over my path. It might seem counter-intuitive, but I crave these periods of introspection for my being to be nourished. It’s when I’ve spent time to stand in the wilderness that I discover two things. First, that Jesus continues to move and live and breathe into his disciples. Second, I am reminded anew that the wilderness is there to be crossed and not cowered from. In these two discoveries I find my resolve to continue along the way set for me.
Wonderfully, Lent affords me a time where, at least among many Christians, taking this time is not only tolerated but encouraged. We Christians are called in this time to step back from our selves, and forward towards Christ through self-denial and service. For Western Christians, especially among low-church Christians, Lenten discipline is often broached with the question, “Are you giving up anything for Lent?” It not a bad question, as it does lock on to the notion of self-sacrifice well. Yet, it also misses the broader point. What is being done to fill the void vacated by the endeavor given up for the season?
- Nope, “Jesus is the Reason for the Season” shopping bags do not alleviate that problem. ↩