Wednesday, February 22, 2012

on why i still observe lent

I go to a Baptist Church.  I grew up in a Methodist Church. 

Most importantly, I am a Christian.

But in keeping with my Methodist upbringing, I have always observed the Lent season.

Lent is the Christian season of preparation before Easter.  Ash Wednesday (that's today) marks the first day and it continues for 40 days until Easter Sunday.  The forty days represent the time Jesus spent in the wilderness, enduring the temptation of Satan.  Lent is a time when many Christians prepare for Easter by observing a period of fasting, repentance, moderation and spiritual discipline.  The purpose is to set aside time for reflection on Jesus--his suffering, his sacrifice, his life, his death and burial and his resurrection.

Today, Christians spend the Lent season focusing on their relationship with God, often choosing to give up something or to volunteer and give of themselves for others. 

In years past, I have given up coffee {NOT a good decision, for anyone}, chocolate, all things sweet, Facebook, and the list goes on and on and on.

This year, I prayed about what I was going to give up.  To sacrifice. 

Through my prayer, I felt the Holy Spirit telling me to not only give something up, but also to add something to my life. 

So, today, I said good-bye to Diet Coke.  And I plan to spend the next 40 days telling 40 different people what a blessing they are in my life. 

I pray that these next 40 days I will grow in my relationship with the Holy Spirit.  I pray that my superficial sacrifice of Diet Coke will make such a lasting impression on my heart that I can truly feel the weight of my Savior's sacrifice for me.  I pray that my intentional purpose of telling people how much they mean to me touches just one heart. 

But there's also this, it's not too late—
   God's personal Message!—
"Come back to me and really mean it!
   Come fasting and weeping, sorry for your 
   Come back to God, your God.
And here's why: God is kind and merciful.
   He takes a deep breath, puts up with a lot,
This most patient God, extravagant in love,
   always ready to cancel catastrophe.
Who knows? Maybe he'll do it now,
   maybe he'll turn around and show pity.
Maybe, when all's said and done,
   there'll be blessings full and robust for your God!
~Joel 2: 12-14

What about you?  Anyone celebrating the Lent season by sacrificing something?

1 comment:

  1. Jessica, as you know, I grew up Baptist in the very church you attend! So I did not begin practicing the Lenten season until I met and married my Methodist husband. And even then I did not start until our inter-denominational church in Clemson began to earnestly practice Lent. I gave up coffee one year as well. Not good for the family- my little toddler, preschooler, baby and husband had to sacrifice too! But this year, I felt a true pull to give the Lord my time. And by that I mean I am devoting an hour per day in prayer, Bible reading and meditation. I do spend time most days doing this, but this season I am waking up early or staying up late to give that to Him. I pray we will both have our hearts prepared to truly be ready to praise and rejoice during the Easter season. Love what you are giving as well. May use that idea myself!