For followers of Jesus around the world, lent begins this Wednesday. Lent is the 40 day season of reflection and preparation for the death and resurrection of Christ. Traditionally, it is a time of repentance, of considering the sin (both individually and collectively) that led Jesus to the cross and how we are called to take up our own crosses.
Some followers ‘give up’ something, like chocolate or TV as a sort of fasting. Others seek to integrate something new into their lives, like visiting folks in nursing home, or exercising, or expanding their time alone with God.
This year, we as a faith community, are seeking to move from being fans to followers of Jesus. So as we go into lent, I want to challenge you to ask yourself a few questions:
- What exactly could I do during the next 40 days to draw me into a deeper relationship with Christ?
- Is there something I need to give up during this season because it represents – for me at least – the sins which sent Jesus to the cross? (For example: gluttony- so give up a certain food, Lies/distortions- so give up listen to TV talking heads, etc.)?
- Is there something I need to add to my life during this time? Are there some ‘Jesus habits’ I need to practice? (For example: getting up 1/2 hour earlier to pray, only buying fair trade coffee/chocolate, visiting our shut-ins, feeding the poor, etc)?
The season of lent affords Jesus’ followers the opportunity to once more rethink how we live. It is an opportunity to ask ourselves: Am I reflecting the values of this world that is passing away or the New Creation that is coming into being through Jesus? Are my priorities being shaped by the society around me, or God’s counter-cultural society that Jesus refered to as The Kingdom.
So this Wednesday, as you see the ashes on the foreheads of other Christians, let it prompt you to ask yourself these kinds of questions. May you to let some things go, or maybe to develop some holy habits. As we do, I pray it lead us to be better and more fully devoted followers of Jesus.
See you Sunday,