The Season of Lent: A Season of Returning

The other day I asked a fellow pastor about his Lenten journey. He said, “I enjoy Lent, but my church family doesn’t really observe it.” I remember those days. I didn’t learn about Lent until I was a young adult. Even then, I didn’t really begin to enter into the season until my late twenties. But after a number of years of observing this season, I’m convinced of its significance. So, what is Lent? “Lent is a season of preparation and repentance during which we anticipate Good Friday and Easter.” (The Worship Sourcebook. Second Edition [Faith Alive], 557)  All big events take preparation. So, why not also the death and resurrection of our Lord—the two biggest events in history? But how much time is needed? The church, in its wisdom, sets aside forty days of preparation, following the number of years that Israel was in the wilderness and Jesus in the desert. So, what do we do during these forty days? We continue to worship the Lord and serve him in our church and neighborhoods. But we also seek to be reflective. To be honest with God and ourselves. As Ruth Haley Baron asks, “Where in my life have I gotten away from God, and what are the disciplines that will enable me to find my way back?” (eReflections, Feb. 5, 2015)  So, as we begin our Lenten journey, I invite you to ask yourself that question. And let God, through His Word and the Lenten worship services, reveal the answer. As for me, I plan to do a bit of fasting over Lent, as I seek to feed more intently on God’s Word. Whatever the Lord calls you to do, I pray it will help you return to Him with all your heart. Amen?