Lent: Love It Or Leave It

The season of the Christian Calendar Year known as Lent begins this week on Ash Wednesday and continues for the forty days (not counting Sundays) leading up to Easter.

Lent is about preparation. We prepare our hearts and minds for Good Friday and Easter, those days that mark Christ’s sacrifice for our sins and victory over the grave. We realize and appreciate the significance of these days much more when we’ve properly prepared for them and retraced Christ’s journey to the cross.

Lent helps us focus on why He had to die.  It’s the time for us to practice repentance and a sacred confession of our utter dependence on Christ. So there is much to love about Lent.

But there is much to leave. As with any ritual or symbol, Lent can be abused and made meaningless. To help us keep focus, let’s learn what to love about Lent, and what to leave:

What To Leave:

  • Leave … another excuse to diet. Our culture is too focused on our bodies as it is. Don’t make this really be about an opportunity to fit back into your college jeans.
  • Leave … the rules and regulations. Christianity is more than do’s and don’ts — even during Lent.
  • Leave … the empty ritual. A good symbol becomes a bad ritual when we just go through the motions.

What To Love:

  • Love … the opportunity to fast. You’re denying a want to focus on your one true need — Jesus Christ.
  • Love … the chance to reflect. Tune out the world and tune into the illuminating power of the Holy Spirit.
  • Love … the historic, global church. Countless brothers and sisters are making this same journey with you, beginning on Ash Wednesday.

Tomorrow I’ll give you a special Bible Reading Plan and a list of books for Lent.

What do you love about Lent? What do you think needs to be left behind?

Are you planning to step into this season of preparation and reflection?

 

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11 Responses to “Lent: Love It Or Leave It”

  1. CyndaP February 20, 2012 at 2:46 pm #

    I love the preparation for Easter. We have lots of preparation for the Christmas season, although not all of it is good for us, and I love the idea of preparing for Easter. The observance of Lent is a relatively new discipline for me and I’ve embraced it!

  2. Rae Whitlock February 20, 2012 at 7:39 pm #

    I’m not much on the observation of Lent… mainly because of its traditional focus on our sin and our sorrow and penitence for it. I’m Reformed already. I know that I’m a sinner. ;) Not that it’s bad to have a concentrated time of prayer and fasting, but Lent carries connotations of self-loathing and inward focus in my mind.

    That’s not to say that it’s inappropriate for Christians to do so, though. Free in Christ and all that stuff. :)

  3. Jason Spencer February 21, 2012 at 3:58 pm #

    Was talking about giving up social networking with a co-worker today. I said that “giving up something is not what its about; its about realzing what it is in your life that takes the place of God. For me, I spend way more time on twitter than I do in God’s Word.” My boss then chimed in “Spoken like a true Catholic!”

    The words of twitter is what shapes me and not God’s Word.

  4. Ben February 22, 2012 at 3:16 pm #

    I’m giving up asceticism for Lent.

    One of the song lyrics at East campus’ service this morning that really struck me was, “May your fasting be a hunger for justice.”

    It made me think of Zechariah 7:
    “Then the word of the Lord of hosts came to me: ‘Say to all the people of the land and the priests, When you fasted and mourned in the fifth month and in the seventh, for these seventy years, was it for me that you fasted? And when you eat and when you drink, do you not eat for yourselves and drink for yourselves?… And the word of the Lord came to Zechariah, saying, ‘Thus says the Lord of hosts, Administer true justice; show mercy and compassion to one another, do not oppress the widow, the fatherless, the sojourner, or the poor, and let none of you devise evil against another in your heart.’”

  5. Crystal February 13, 2013 at 9:19 pm #

    http://40days.bloodwatermission.com/how-to-take-part/

    This is what I will be doing for Lent this year. For me, it is a pretty big sacrifice. Hopefully, my sacrifice will benefit someone else, but I think that the Lord has a lot to teach me about sacrifice. I think it will make me more mindful of my blessing and more aware of those in desperate need. Thinking about the brokenness of this world will certainly make the celebration of a Risen Christ more meaningful.

Trackbacks/Pingbacks:

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