Do you celebrate the season of Lent? Do you know what Lent is?
Growing up in a Baptist church, I never celebrated or even knew what Lent was until high school. A mentor of mine then explained what Lent was and the meaning and traditions of Lent. Since I’ve been introduced to it, I love this season and when taken seriously, believe that it is a wonderful time of spiritual renewal. Jeremy and I attend a local Methodist Church and I’m so glad that we celebrate the season of Lent as a congregation there!
The season of Lent is a forty day period between Ash Wednesday and Easter. It is a season that is reminiscent of Jesus’ forty days in the wilderness and a time for Christians to fast and prepare their hearts for Easter. When calculating the forty days of Lent, Sundays are not included because each Sunday is considered a “little Easter”, a celebration of the resurrection. It is intended to be a time for Christians to prepare themselves for the coming celebration the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus. It is a time to follow Jesus to the cross, and remember the sacrifice that He made for us. During the passion week, the week before Easter, I love to read through all Christ did the week prior to His crucifixion. It helps to make Easter more meaningful and focused.
Lent is a special, intentional time for Christians to become engaged in the process of spiritual renewal. “Lent is a time to increase the things of the spirit, and decrease the things of the flesh”. Traditionally, Lent is observed by fasting, often from meat. However, you can fast from anything that is distracting your attention from your spiritual needs. It could be food, coffee, a certain activity, a certain tv show, tv altogether, facebook, or something else that you feel the Lord guiding you to sacrifice during this season. Remember that in comparison to the sacrifice that Jesus made for us on the cross, even the hardest thing for us to sacrifice is really insignificant.
For me, I will be fasting from something a little different this year. I will be fasting from reading blogs. I love spending time each day reading so many wonderful blogs, but I know that it eats up so much precious time that I could be using in more productive ways. This season, I will be spending the time I normally set aside for reading blogs to focus on spiritual disciplines and renewing my walk with the Lord. I plan to still post on my blog, and respond to any comments, but will be absent from your blogs for a while. I will post using Windows Live Writer so I don’t see my blog feed, and be tempted to go and read new posts. It is important to plan to resist temptation, because just as Satan tempted Jesus in the wilderness, he will tempt you in your time of fasting and spiritual refreshing! I’ll miss so many of the blogs that I read, but I know that this is something the Lord has laid on my heart to do. I may read a few on Sundays (because Sunday is not included in the forty days of Lent, you traditionally can break your fast on Sundays in celebration of the resurrection), but will not be spending nearly as much time as I normally would.
I also plan to do a series here on Spiritual disciplines during this forty day period as I begin to focus on them myself. I look forward to sharing my thoughts and journey with you!
Will you join me in preparing your heart for the celebration of the resurrection? Lent begins one week from today, next Wednesday March 9th and continues until the Saturday before Easter. I hope you will prayfully consider how you can celebrate this season in your own life.