Tomorrow is the first day of Lent 2019. Known as Ash Wednesday, it will serve as the beginning of our annual pilgrimage to the cross and the empty tomb.
Regardless of your denominational expression, Lent is a season of the church year that pinnacles with the final days of Christ’s earthly life, his fulfilled mission that leads him to the cross, and his triumphal and miraculous resurrection. Our hope as Christ followers is focused on these transformational experiences and expressions of extravagant love that point us to the completed promises of God as our Redeemer.
Are you preparing for Lent in any specific way? Perhaps considering a “fast” from something that has been captivating you of late (i.e. sweets, carbs, social media, shopping, or any number of overdone habits of the heart). Or, “adding” a practice that will help you reorient your priorities around God’s justice, mercy, or grace (i.e. daily reading of a Lenten devotional, specific prayer practices, or acts of service without recognition).
Whatever you decide to do is totally fine: no need to compare or contrast your Lenten practices with others. Today is the day you might want to pray into how God desires for you to focus your attention on Jesus during Lent. Any of our “fasts” or “practices” aren’t ends in themselves – if chosen to follow, they are to remind us repeatedly over the next 40 days that our dependence and our hope is in Christ alone.
Let’s not lose sight of the real reason for Lent: penitential reflection on our own sinful propensities, the gift of abundant mercy poured out upon us by the crucified and resurrected Christ, and the eternal hope of the resurrection which ushers us more fully into the Kingdom life now and for all eternity.
A blessed and prayerful Lent to you and yours, from all of us on the LTI Team.
In Christ Alone,
Steve Macchia D.Min.