As a child, I experienced Lent as an extra-long prelude to Good Friday. It had a dark, somber feeling to it. The themes all seem to center around the suffering of Jesus and the cross. Confession of sin was the central act of worship. The dark sanctuary was a contrast to the bright morning light of Sunday worship. The hymns we sang felt heavy and ponderous. We did not walk to the cross – we crawled with scrapped knees and heavy hearts.
Is Lent meant to be so dark? Does our Papa in heaven delight in the ways we berate ourselves?
One of the early purposes of Lent was to prepare new Christian believers for their baptism on Easter. It was a time of instruction, and even fasting, but it had a joyous destination: to be joined to Jesus in both his death and resurrection.
Or don’t you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life. (Romans 6:3-4).
The new life in Christ was the destination of celebration which colored the time of preparation with joy and light.
The word Lent comes from an old English word that means “spring.” This year at Trinity Lutheran (where I am serving as interim senior pastor), our Lenten theme will have a spring like quality: The Garden of Prayer. Inspired by the stain glass window above Trinity’s pipe organ, we will join Jesus in prayer.
The theme verse will be “Be still, and know that I am God” (Psalm 46:10). Each Wednesday evening together we will embrace a specific Christian form of prayer. We will celebrate the rich ancient spiritual practices of Gratitude, Confession, Intercession and Meditation. Like a loving father or mother, God delights in spending time with God’s children. Let us join in that delight this coming Lent.
Lent begins next Wednesday, February 10. Encourage you to find a way to center in with God’s Love during this holy season.
I will also be using this blog to highlight these different forms of prayer. If you want to follow along sign-up for the weekly e-mail using the form in right hand column.
How has Lent impacted your life in Christ?