Fellow Missionaries in Jesus,
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 almost here. On March 6, we begin our Lenten journey to the cross of Jesus with our Ash Wednesday worship service.
This year during Lent, we will be focusing on the “People of the Passion.” Each service, we will take time to reflect and meditate on the people throughout the life of Christ and His passion for us. I really hope you can join us this Lenten season as we take time for repentance, to prepare ourselves, our hearts and souls, for the greatest of all celebrations. Easter is the Feasts above all feasts, the triumphant resurrection of our Savior, proclaiming the destruction death and hell!
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 sun down on Saturday night till sundown on Sunday night, you get to partake of! So go ahead, enjoy that chocolate, beer, or glass of wine! Because Sundays are a day 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 myself no longer give things up. Rather, I add something during Lent. For example, you may add five minutes 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. 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 really 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 here.
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,