This week marks the beginning of a period of religious observance for many believers called Lent. If you’re unfamiliar with this time, it begins with Ash Wednesday (which was last Wednesday) and extends for 46 days to Easter Sunday. Lent is traditionally a time of fasting, prayer, repentance, and ultimately celebration at Easter. For centuries, the faithful have used this time to draw near to God. Yet today, not many believers are in touch with its purpose. The added fact that a lot of it seems very “Catholic” can cause some to be turned off to it.
I started observing Lent quite a few years ago and haven’t stopped since. It doesn’t have to be a wildly obvious spectacle in your life. In fact, for me it’s often the return to sacred simplicity that I need. The way Lent traditionally works (though there is no wrong way) is to fast every day of the week except Sunday. This fast could be an abstention of meat, sweets, tv, or anything else. The fast breaks every Sunday as a means of creating a longing for that holy day (and boy does it!) This reminds us of how our souls should long for Easter, not just as a holiday, but as a revelation in our lives.
While I think there’s a lot to be said about progressive movements, I have always had an affinity for beautiful and sacred traditions. One author who has helped fuel this is Glenn Packiam and his blog on Lent is way better than this one. If you only have a few more minutes, stop reading mine and go read his.
I love how he puts it. “Lent is about space.” We create space in our hearts, souls, and spirits for a fresh revelation of God and for a renewed and continuing work in us. For all of my friends in ministry and on church staffs, I know the season leading up to Easter can feel more like Black Friday than Good Friday. That’s one reason Lent has become so important to me. In all the fullness of labor, there’s still sacred space.
I know this isn’t very pop and doesn’t have much buzz to it, but today I hope that someone somewhere feels inspired to join so many other believers worldwide as we fast and prayerfully approach Easter. You can start today. You won’t miss out because you missed Ash Wednesday, trust me. Any time you devote yourself to seek God, it’s always worth it. For some great tips to study your Bible, check out this video. Then you see me jumping like a fool on Easter, you’ll know it’s because Jesus is alive and I’m about to eat chicken.