Lent is an incredibly powerful time of year. We read daily scripture or stories leading up to the arrest, judgment, crucifixion, resurrection, 40 days Jesus lived on earth and the final ascension. It’s important as believers that we know WHY we are saved, the sacrifice that was made for our freedom from sin, forgiveness and the promise of an eternal home.
The road to the cross was heartbreaking for all who had walked with and followed Jesus’ ministry. From his family and disciples, to those who had been miraculously healed, shared in a meal of fish and loaves that fed 5,000 people, water turned into wine.
Jesus was loved and held. His mother wept and grieved. Some denied His existence. Others ran from guilt. And in the end, He took the nails for us. By His stripes we are healed. He arose from the dead. He walked for 40 days in human form. And then, in a cloud of glory Jesus returned to Heaven to sit at the throne with His Heavenly Father.
It’s hard to find hysterical joy in life. Especially in the world in which we live. I’ve always been a “see the sunshine in the clouds” kind of person. I hope my positivity is contagious! Today at a Lent study, in all the exhilaration I could muster, I lifted my hands and said: “I’m jacked up on faith.” The room roared with laughter, I knew they were laughing with me and not at me, but it was a bit startling; I was simply sharing how on fire I was for Jesus.
I think we need to experience these moments more often. Either we need to say something mind-blowing that moves the room, or we need to be on the receiving end of it. Laughter and humanness is good for the soul! It reminds us; particularly in regards to our faith, that the world needs to see more of Jesus — in us!
As a former Lutheran, Lent was never really a big deal. I cringe to say that. The church was decorated in lovely purple, there were palm fronds. The children did an Easter pageant, adults did special readings. We never gave anything up for Lent, I didn’t even know that was a thing until 15 years ago, when it was discussed at a spiritual retreat.
I’m not revising this blog to convert anyone to Catholicism, but I do have to say — this religion really takes apart the Word of God and applies to life. You don’t HAVE TO give up meat, or give up anything at all. But for me, after reading about Lent, what it is, why it’s lived, celebrated and taught; I learned that if something is coming between me and God – then that is what should be given up.
I have a list a mile long of what I should not only give up for Lent, but give up all together! Don’t we all? Make an effort. Pray for sanity and endurance.
During this Lenten season, some are giving up sugar or Facebook or something else that bogs down their time or life. Some; instead of giving up, are giving. They are volunteering or adding more bible study to their routine. Whatever path you choose, make it prayerful, make it important. You are in essence, to deny yourself, carry your cross and follow Jesus.
For me, as a young child, Easter was about decorating hard boiled eggs, shopping for a pretty outfit with new shiny shoes, a basket filled with lots of candy and a plush rabbit, a very touching church service, complete with palms for waving and a big dinner at home after church.
Now, as a ‘grownup’ …. I find that being as mindful as possible about the significance of this time is all I need to draw closer to Jesus.
When it comes right down to it, we are sorrowful for the death of Jesus, celebratory for the resurrection and grateful for the life ever after.