I was raised Methodist, and currently attend a Presbyterian church. One of many things these two denominations have in common is the celebration of the Season of Lent.
Lent begins today, Ash Wednesday, counting 40 days (minus Sundays) and leading up to the celebration of the resurrection of our Savior, on Easter Sunday. It is a time to pray, reflect, and repent. Many associate the celebration with the 40 days Jesus was tempted by the devil in the wilderness. It is time leading up to the ultimate sacrifice.
A student today asked,”What are you going to give up for Lent?” As an 8 year old, I too associated Lent with giving something up. From cokes to ketchup to TV shows, it was one thing or another. When I got a little older, I realized I needed to be replacing these desires during the 40 days with thoughts about Jesus & bible stories. As my relationship with Christ has grown so has my depth of understanding for what Lent means to me. Those giving up things they love are making a small sacrifice to catch a minuet glimpse of the sacrifice of Christ. And in those moments when desire kicks in we remember how much we are loved by a God full of grace.
For the past few years instead of giving up, I’ve decided to take on. To take a slot out of my day to share God’s love with the world. This year my goal is to write one card to someone each day of Lent. 40 days = 40 cards. Doesn’t your heart skip a beat when you see someone has sent you a note through snail mail. I want to share the love God has poured on me with others. And my hope is that each day I can bring an unexpected smile.
Participating in the Lenten season does not make one more holy, and failing at your task does not make one less. God is praised in our desire to honor Him & bring glory to His name. Grace is a gift freely given, expecting nothing in return. God’s grace & our redemption are gifts, freely given the day we asked Jesus into our hearts.
Easter Sunday, is a celebration, but we can’t forget the path that led to His resurrection. Death on the cross came first. The sacrifice of a loving God, that loves us SO much that he would send his Son to die for you and for me.