Posted by: morgan1965 | February 20, 2013

Not Just For Lent

The Lenten Season is an annual pilgrimage to the cross. This spiritual journey begins with Ashe Wednesday and ends with the powerful events of Holy Week. Holy Week, of course, is marked by the events of Palm Sunday, Maundy Thursday, Good Friday and Easter Sunday.

If Lent is a spiritual journey, then what is the destination? From my perspective, the destination is the cross; Lent is a journey to the cross where we meet Jesus. At the cross, we encounter the Jesus of Nazareth who becomes the Risen Christ. The dying thief met Jesus on the cross and his life was transformed. Peter encountered Jesus on the cross and his relationship with Jesus was transformed from that of a denying friend to faithful follower.

Over the years I have heard Christians talk about giving something up for Lent. What troubles me is that the intent seems to be that one will stop doing something, but only for the duration of Lent. If that is the case, what difference will it make? It will only make a difference in one’s spiritual life when we give up something on a permanent basis.

Rather than give something up for Lent, one might want to consider doing something for Lent. This would be a positive approach rather than a negative approach. The idea is that the Lenten journey can be claimed as an opportunity for a fresh beginning. An example of this might be that one commits to praying for “homeless people” on a daily basis. Another example would be to commit to reading the bible on daily basis. The point is to take a positive action and commit oneself to executing that action not only during the Lenten Season but beyond through the days of the year.

Lent is a wonderful time for the pilgrim disciple to reflect on what it is that separates one form God. There are many things that separate us from God, such as greed, anger, fear, dishonesty, malice, to name a few. What positive step can you take to bridge this separation?

The point is this. Whether you stop doing something or start doing something for Lent, take that action beyond Lent. Let your action become a way of life.

When Peter encountered Jesus at the cross, his estrangement from Jesus was exposed. Peter was afraid for his own life, and he did not want to be exposed as a follower of Jesus. His heart was filled with sorrow, however, because he had denied Jesus, not once but three times. When Peter prayerfully reflected on his encounter with Jesus at the cross and the drama of the empty tomb, his life was transformed into that of a faith disciple of Jesus Christ. For Peter the drama of Holy Week led to the radical experience of Pentecost.

Think about it.


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