On Ash Wednesday, (February 26, 2020) we enter into the season of Lent in the Church Year. Lent offers the invitation to set aside time each year to “walk with Jesus to Jerusalem”, to remember and intentionally focus on Christ’s life, ministry, sacrifice, and resurrection.
Lent lasts 40 days, leading up to Easter, minus Sundays. The 40 days mirror Jesus’ 40 days in the wilderness at the beginning of his ministry, where he fasted, prayed, and triumphed over the temptations of Satan. In accepting the invitation to celebrate Lent, we may also be called to fast and pray.
“The purpose of Lent is not to force on us a few formal obligations, but to ‘soften’ our heart so that it may open itself to the realities of the spirit, to experience the hidden ‘thirst and hunger’ for communion with God.” (Reverend Alexander Schmemann)
The more traditional way to identify with Jesus is by giving up something for Lent, and you may sense that is a good option for you. Maybe you give up chocolate or Wednesday lunches or maybe it’s social media on Mondays you choose to fast. Possibly you could feel the invitation to refrain from complaining or to give up your purchased coffee and donate the money instead.
However, you might be invited to add something during Lent. You may decide to more faithfully pray for people in your life, walk a certain amount of time or distance each day, or more intentionally read through the gospels. You could also prayerfully identify people in your life, your neighborhood, your family, your place of work or school, whom you can serve in some small way. You can pray for them, as mentioned above, or you can be on the lookout for a way to serve them, to deny yourself in some way on their behalf. You can volunteer in a ministry for a season. All of these are also ways in which we can observe a holy season of Lent as we remember what Christ has done for us. We would love to have you start by taking part in our Ash Wednesday service February 26, 7:00pm, at ECC.
What you choose, by themselves, can do nothing – these practices are about making intentional space to connect with God and allowing Him to work in and through you. Committing to intentionally focus some way on Christ’s life during Lent is a way we can cooperate with the Holy Spirit on the pathway to Christoformity. We encourage you to take some time and prayerfully ask God how He is inviting you to observe Lent this year.
If you would like to receive some guidance or encouragement during your observing of Lent, we invite you to sign up for daily Lenten texts on your phone where we’ll offer you a prayer, a passage to reflect on, or some other suggestion to help you more intentionally observe the season of Lent. If you sign up, you’ll receive an initial text on Ash Wednesday, and then, starting the following week, 5 daily texts each week leading up to Easter. Simply text @ecclent20 to the number 81010 to enroll.
As we experience this sacred season, however you choose to celebrate Lent, may our hearts be softened and open to the realities of the Spirit, may we experience a deeper communion with God, and a grow a greater commitment to love and be loved by the Savior.