Throughout the month of March we are traveling through the Season of Lent. Modeled after Jesus’ 40 days and nights of fasting, Lent is the 40 day season of the church year (excluding Sundays) between Ash Wednesday (March 1st) and Holy Saturday (April 15th).
Lent is a faith journey. It’s a time for Christian Pilgrims to embark on a spiritual pilgrimage to the Cross. The Season of Lent invites us to engage in those spiritual disciplines that can open ourselves more fully to the holiness of God. During Lent, we seek to engage in those practices that can move us toward righteousness and holiness.
These are days to draw from the historic teachings of our Christian faith, establishing a Rule of Life where the spiritual disciplines of prayer, fasting, the searching of the Scripture, worship and service are diligently sought, and faithfully implemented when and wherever possible.
Historically, for the church, Lent has been a season of preparing Christian converts for baptism. Here at HUMC, like many congregations, we will offer church membership classes with the hopes of bringing new members into the church on Easter Sunday.
Lent invites us to let go of any unhealthy patterns and behaviors, so that we might more fully embrace God’s call to holiness. If giving up chocolate helps you toward that end, that’s fine. But perhaps there are more potentially fruitful acts of self-denial you may want to consider.
How about for this Season of Lent, you and I make a pact – how ‘bout we give up un-Christlike things, like judgement, intolerance and anger. Maybe we could empty ourselves of the remnants of bitterness over previous slights or wounds that have remained in our hearts much too long. Lent challenges the sin that remains within.
And maybe putting into practice the spiritual disciplines of prayer, fasting, the searching of the Scriptures, worship, Holy Communion and engaging in acts of compassion, justice and service, can create within us a Christ-centered posture of self-denial that will bear the fruit of Christ-likeness and Christian maturity.
Here’s wishing for you, for me and for us all – the observance of a holy Lent. May God grant us a faithful and fruitful pilgrimage to the Cross.