Can you believe it? I sure can’t. I keep looking at the calendar and saying, “How can this be?” But indeed, it’s true: Lent is here.
You know, many people still follow the ancient tradition of the church in giving up something during Lent. This is done as a type of fasting. It is why we, as a church, give up the word, “Alleluia!” When we realize the need or desire for what we give up, we turn to prayer and meditation, each time, on what God the Father gave up for us. If this is your practice, boy, have I got good news for you! Have you ever noticed that we do not call Sundays during Lent, “Sundays OF Lent?” Rather we call them, “Sundays IN Lent.” The reason for this is simple. Sundays are what we call mini Easters. Yes, you read that right. Each Sunday is a celebration of Easter and Jesus’ resurrection. For that reason, I have a little-known church secret I’d like to share with you. Whatever it is you give up during Lent, from sundown on Saturday night till sundown on Sunday night, you get to partake of! So, go ahead, enjoy that Facebook, chocolate, beer, or glass of wine because Sundays are days of celebration!
For those of you who do not have this practice for Lent, I have something I’d like to share with you! In fact, I no longer give things up. I like to say I gave up giving up things for Lent. Rather, I add something during Lent. For example, you may add five minutes extra in your day to take in prayer or devotion. Or maybe extra time at the dinner table to share your day with each other in your family and then pray for each other. It may be adding the family devotional we use for Lent in your home. For me, there have been times I have added extra minutes to my private prayer time or added an extra prayer each day that I would like to know from memory. This is a great way to develop a new habit. Not all habits are bad; there are good ones too! We know from human studies that it takes 18-21 days to develop a habit. What an awesome, great habit to develop, spending more intentional time with God and/or family! You surely can’t go wrong there.
Whatever your practice, please take the time to do something. Why? It helps us keep our eyes fixed on Jesus. As we focus on Jesus, we see how powerful of a journey we take as we walk through, once again, our desperate need for a Savior. Along that journey, we once again expose our sinfulness to God. As we approach the end of the long, winding path, we come to a cross. It is there where our sins are taken from us and are left by Jesus in hell where they belong! Praise Him! For it is in an empty tomb, waiting for us at the end of our journey, that we truly find our victory over sin, death, and the devil sealed for all eternity!
Come, join us on the path, as together we walk hand in hand to that great and wonderful day when the Alleluias ring out without end and shouts of, “Christ is risen” become the victory chant of all God’s people.
Jesus loves you, and so do I!
In the shadow of the cross,
About the Author
Rev. Travis Pittock has served as the pastor of Christ Lutheran church since November of 2015, and in the Lutheran Church-Missouri synod since 2002.