If you are reading this on the day, I sent it out, you are reading it on what has been traditionally called “Ash Wednesday”, the day that begins the season of Lent. Ash Wednesday is a day to remember your sins, your brokenness and desperation before a Holy God. It is a time of repentance that commemorates a season of preparation for the most Holy of holidays, EASTER.
Blogger and Editor, Scott Hubbard says this about Lent:
“The Protestant church has a checkered history with Lent.
On the one hand, many of the earliest Protestants revolted against the forty-weekday stretch from Ash Wednesday to Easter. The Catholic Church had turned the pre-Easter season into a mandatory fast, promising spiritual merit to everyone who skipped some meals and avoided certain foods, including meat on Fridays. In response to such man-made religion, the Swiss Reformer Ulrich Zwingli began one weekend with a sausage dinner. Since then, a host of Protestants have followed Zwingli and ditched the Lenten fast.
On the other hand, many modern Protestants have sought to reclaim the ancient practice of Lent by grounding it in the gospel. Recognizing that every church follows some calendar or set of seasonal rhythms, these Christians take advantage of the late winter to till the soil of their hearts. Like Advent, Lent becomes an opportunity to prepare room for Jesus in the overcrowded quarters of our souls.
Whichever side you land on, consider the coming weeks as an opportunity to maximize your Easter gladness. You don’t need to call it ‘Lent.’ You don’t even need to fast over and above your normal practice. You just need to devote yourself to a forty-day soul feast.”
Oh, how I agree with Scott! Don’t get caught up in the historical debate of “Lent or no Lent”. But use this 40-day trek to Easter as an opportunity to get to know the Savior better. Use these 40 days to long after Him, to set your affections on Him, to wage war alongside of Him! Read, pray, fast, ponder, listen to sermons, give up tv and other distractions, journal… and then come with JUBILANT CELEBRATION on EASTER morning! For truly this IS the Christians’ Holiday!
If you have no idea how you want to walk this Lent season, I encourage you to join me in reading Fifty Reasons Why Jesus Came to Die, between now and Easter Sunday. In fifty short chapters (very short chapters), John Piper asks the simple question, Why? Why did Jesus come to die? You can download a copy of the book free of charge.
So, on this Ash Wednesday, take a few minutes to pray and sorrow over sin. Your sin. Sin that caused our Savior to give His life and bear the wrath of God on our behalf. Then get up and take the 40-day journey, not only to the cross but to the glorious RESURRECTION!
See you on the “other side” …Easter that is 😉.