According to Wikipedia, the roots of the word is a shortened form of the Old English word lencten, meaning "spring season". However beyond marking physical time, for followers of Jesus, Lent is a spiritual marker of time that welcomes the 40 day journey toward the pinnacle of the gospel message.
If you grew up in the church, you may have heard of or experienced Lent traditions such as giving something up, special worship services, devotions and prayer, deeper reflection, or fasting. Growing up outside of Detroit, we had a fairly large Polish community where they would eat Paczkis, on the day before Lent began. Culturally, we know that day as "Fat Tuesday" where we indulge ourselves because we know what's about to happen.
As a follower of Jesus, Lent is an important part of living like Jesus. It a time that reminds me that I am not Jesus... though, I strive to be like Him. I am reminded of my temptations in light of Jesus' victory... my brokenness in the middle of Jesus' wholeness... my unsteadiness and unfaithfulness - even when Jesus is steady and faithful.
This Lent, I'm (personally) choosing to reflect on Jesus' justice, equity, peace, and humility in the middle of my personal and our culture's self-centeredness. It's so easy to make everything in life about me. From family meal times to work challenges; from cultural tensions to little comments that come and go. I need to be reminded that life is not about me... it's about Jesus.
It's Jesus' justice on the cross that levels the playing field so acceptance for all can be ushered into real life.
It's Jesus' equity in his suffering with the criminals that shows me that indeed, there is no distinction (unless we're talking about God and everything else).
It's Jesus' peace I find in the words, "It is finished" when He gives up His spirit.
It's Jesus' humility when He comes back to life and doesn't say, "I told you so", but rather invites me and whoever else chooses to follow Him to change the world to make life a little more like heaven on earth.
Will you join me in creating space for this important time. Worship. Reflect. Check out our daily online devotions. It can be habit forming. I pray that it will change your heart to be more like Jesus.
Love you more than you know.
The OSLC ministry team is a growing collection of women and men who live as a family on mission, leading the OSLC family in connecting an unchanging God with a changing world by loving God, loving people, and living like Jesus.