My hope had been to put something up about Lent prior to Ash Wednesday. Work pressures and parenting two newborn twins got in the way of that. So here we are, 10 days into Lent, and I am just now putting up that post. I trust that grace abounds in this, as in all things.
Lent is the journey with Jesus that we are called to travel as he “sets his face to go to Jerusalem” (in the words of the Gospel of Luke). This journey is the steady, determined mission Jesus has undertaken that is filled with teaching and healing and, ultimately, suffering. It will culminate in the cross of Calvary. It is a journey of salvation. It isn’t Jesus’ salvation, of course. God Incarnate does not need to be saved. But his people do, and so he undertakes the journey for us.
The English word “Lent” is derived from an Old English term for “spring.” That is fitting, and not only because the season of Lent overlaps with the transition from winter to spring. It is also fitting because the salvation of Jesus Christ is the springtime of all life, the ground of our hope in resurrection.
Oftentimes, Christians will sacrifice something for Lent as a way of identifying with the sacrifice of Jesus. (Sometimes what you sacrifice can be chosen for you, which isn’t a bad idea for spiritual discipline.) We do this because the kind of fasting involved in Lenten sacrifice is a means of grace that draws us closer to God — something John Wesley said a thing or two about.
Above all, Lent should be a time of real contemplation on the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. And there is nothing better that we can be contemplating about.