Greetings in the name of our Lord Jesus!
Lent is a season when we prepare ourselves. But for what are we preparing ourselves? We focus on the spiritual disciplines of praying, fasting and tithing. Somehow we have come to equate our practice of these spiritual gifts with a need to sacrifice and suffer during Lent. It’s like the church has come to regard Lent as a time we prepare to die. Preparing to die destroys our hope of living our lives into the future, building the vision that our life comes to an end.
Christians wake up! Lent is not a time to prepare to die. Dying is giving up and giving in to death. It is preparing ourselves to come to an end. That message does not come to us from in any of the gospels.
Lent is a time we practice our spiritual disciplines and prepare to live! The spiritual disciplines for Lent do not change. The spiritual disciplines remain the same and the words sound the same; however, preparing to live is different than preparing to die. When we prepare to live, we envision ourselves in a future that endlessly continues. Visioning ourselves in living into the future gives us hope and inspires us to dream of new ways we can work today with God in re-creating the world.
Each Lent, we prepare for Easter and the resurrection of Jesus because we are preparing for our resurrection. Praying, fasting and tithing prepare us to build something that continues to live and grow. During this holy season, we prepare ourselves to move to the next level.
The Gospel of Mark is the lectionary gospel until Advent of 2015. We will keep Lent in the context of Mark. Our theme for the season of Lent this year is “Cross It Up.”
I encourage all of you to practice the spiritual disciplines of praying, fasting and tithing as means of making more room for God to work in your life. May we discern God’s will and do God’s will as we prepare to live into, through, and beyond Lent.
Grace and Peace,