What Is Lent Preparing Us For?


Ash Wednesday - photo by Thule Kinnison

Ash Wednesday - photo by Thule Kinnison

Last night like many of you, Tom and I attended Ash Wednesday service at our church.  I returned home my forehead embellishd with a black cross and my heart very aware of my own sinfulness and need for repentance.  It seems to me that Lent this year is very much on people’s minds as they continue to grapple with the crisis in our world economy and the underlying corruption that has created it.  It makes us aware not only of our personal need for repentance but of our societal need for repentance too.

This morning however  I am working on the Easter portion of A Journey into Wholeness which I should have ready to download at the beginning of next week.  As a result I have been reflecting on”what is Lent preparing for?”  It seems to me that for many of us Lent has become an end in itself and there is very little sense of what we celebrate it for.  First I want to emphasize that Lent is not about preparation for the celebration of Stations of the Cross much as I enjoy participating in that experience.  Nor is it even primarily a preparation for the celebration of the resurrection of Christ, even though this is the pivotal celebration of our faith.

Lent is primarily about preparing us to live in the world that Christ’s resurrection brought into being – the kingdom of God world – what I like to call God’s resurrection created world. it is about preparing us to follow the one who “transfigured the world with the Spirit of life.”

The Christ that early disciples experienced was the incarnate, risen Christ who made life flourish in the midst of a violent and oppressive empire by feeding the hungry, healing the sick and bringing the hope of freedom and new life for all creation.  The God they experienced was a God whose very essence was love and who calls us to live in a world in which love of God and love of neighbour is both the meaning for all we do and the purpose of all we are and do.  The disciplines that we establish during this season are for that purpose.  They are intended to break down the barriers that inhibit us from dwelling fully in this world. It is intended as a time to put to death those parts of our lives that are not centered on God and God’s pruposes.

Imagine how our world could be transformed this Easter season if we took this preparation of Lent seriously for all of life and became the people that God intended us to be – resurrection life people who are committed to seeing the life of God’s kingdom flourish in every aspect of our world.

Things that clutter and consume

We lay them down

Attitudes that separate and divide

We lay them down

Thoughts that confuse and disrupt

We lay them down

Into the cycle of living and dying and rising again

We lay them down

7 Responses

  1. WOW Christine, I think you nailed it!

    Thank you for helping me see the essence and put this Lenten season in perspective on day #2. One of my favorite Puritan writers, John Owen, wrote a little treasure on Romans 8:6 entitled “The Grace and Duty of being spirituall minded”.

    I agree, the Lenten season is the ideal time in the Christian calendar to emphasize the necessity of putting off “the old man” in order to live God’s new creation in Christ Jesus our Lord.

    John Paul Todd
    e4unity.wordpress.com

  2. Could it be that so many of God’s people still don’t have a clear vision of just what Christ has accomplished for us here and now-

    “Imagine how our world could be transformed this Easter season if we took this preparation of Lent seriously for all of life and became the people that God intended us to be – resurrection life people who are committed to seeing the life of God’s kingdom flourish in every aspect of our world.”

    I am imagining with you Christine and praying that God would be pleased to do exactly this.

  3. I read your Lent prayer,I hope and pray I can change my sellfish ways and turn to Jesus this 6 weeks.I know the biggest sacrifice is Love thy negibour.Pray for me to have more patience towards my family members.PL. pray for me .
    Dagma.

  4. This appears to be a good foundation for the Lent season.I wish all who read this follow theese guide lines. God Bless You !
    Dagma.

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