OK folks, it’s lent, not lint. Most of us have noticed the lent buzz has begun. And lent is not what you clean from your drier vent. Lent is talked about in the news; there are multiple Facebook suggestions, even social media solutions are offered. First, let’s define what lent is. Biblegateway.com offers this definition for lent:
“Lent is the span of time in the church calendar that starts with Ash Wednesday and ends with Easter Sunday. Ash Wednesday commemorates the beginning of Jesus’ 40-day fasting and temptation in the desert, and Easter Sunday commemorates Jesus’ resurrection from the grave after his crucifixion.
Lent, then, is generally observed as a time for Christians to reflect, repent, and pray as a way of preparing their hearts for Easter. How does one observe Lent? Read this from Andy Rau, Senior Manager of Content, Biblegateway.org.
Lent is about love, our Savior’s love and sacrifice for us. Jesus literally became sin for us, so that we might have fellowship with the Heavenly Father. “God, the Father made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf.” 2 Corinthians 5:21. Jesus’ love covers a multitude of sin. Romans 6:23 says, “For the wages (payment) of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
There is only one solution for the problem of separation from God. Some have tried to earn their way to heaven by working harder or being religious, but Hebrews 9:6 says, “Without the shedding of blood, there is no remission (forgiveness) sins.” Jesus Christ is the only answer to the problem. He died on the Cross and rose from the grave, paying the penalty for our sin. He provided a way for us to have a relationship with God. John 3:16 says, “For God so loved _______ (and put your name in the blank) that He gave His only begotten son, that if ________ believes in Him, ________ should not perish, but have eternal life.”
How can we fall more deeply in love with our Savior? During the forty days of preparation time before Easter Sunday? How can we prepare ourselves to be amazed by celebration day of victory over death, when Jesus rose from the dead? As has become my tradition here on my blog, I will offer resources and suggestions as well as share what God leads me to do as my “love offering” to Him. I will be praying for you as we journey toward Resurrection Sunday morning.
One of my favorite resources for lent is:
40 Ideas for Lent 2015 (Rachel Held Evans)
We need to ask ourselves five questions:
- When I wake up on Resurrection Sunday morning, how will I be different? What am I preparing for?
- Is there something in my life—a habit, a grudge, a fear, a prejudice, an addition, an emotional barrier, a form of excess that keeps me from loving God with my heart, soul, mind and strength and loving my neighbor as myself? How might I address that over the next 40 days?
- Lent is a time to listen to God, but sometimes God speaks through others, particularly the poor, oppressed, marginalized, and suffering. To whom should I be listening this season? How can I cultivate a listening posture toward others whose perspective and experiences might differ from my own?
- Is there a spiritual discipline—praying the hours, lectio divina, the examen—that I’ve always wanted to try? How might I alter my daily routine to include one of these disciplines?
- The cycle of death and resurrection is central to the Christian faith. In what ways is that cycle present in my life right now? Where might there be necessary change, suffering, death and decay, and how might new life emerge from those experiences?
So while you are letting this list for lent sink in, don’t think of it as a list for lent; think of it as how to show ‘love for lent.’ You might be thinking, I didn’t get to begin on the first day of lent, so I have to wait until next year. Not. Begin today. You do love Jesus, don’t you? Show him. Here’s an easy way to do this:
Start in your closet; begin to purge and give away clothes. If you haven’t worn it in a year, you probably won’t wear it again. It’s time to unclutter your closet. When you start to dig, toss, sort and throw out, you will find this freeing concept will overflow to other areas.
On Wednesday February 10, I removed one item out of my closet each day. Since then, some days, I’ve unloaded up to ten items I don’t need, don’t care for any more, or, I have to honestly say, won’t wear. Some pieces are nearly brand new. (I’m embarrassed about my obsessive overindulgence, yet I’ve turned it around to think of the many who will be blessed by receiving my brand new clothes.)
I am showing and sharing love during lent. I’ve been so excited about making room in my closet; the practice has begun to infiltrate the drawers and cupboards in my bathroom and just yesterday, hit some areas in my home office. Wow, I can’t tell you how good it feels to face the areas of chaos and clutter. I’ve been a victim of my fear of letting go. Instead of caving into fear, I have chosen to show love during lent. What about you? I’ve learned this the hard way: You have to let go to take hold of something new. Maybe I should have read my Bible and let the truth transform my choice to show love?
“Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already been made perfect, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. Brothers I don not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But this one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 3:12-15
How will you choose to show love Jesus during lent?
Please check out my other blog, From Ashes to Beauty. I am praying for you!