Ash Wednesday is tomorrow, and many are thinking about the start of season of Lent. Honestly, sometimes it seems as if there is just a lot of confusion on the whole season.
I just wanted to take a second and share a little as to why I think the season of Lent matters for us today.
The Season of Lent is the preparatory season leading up to the celebration of Easter, much like Advent is the preparatory season leading to Christmas. But, where Advent might be likened to cleaning your house for a special house guest; Lent is more like a life yard sale where we dig through the mess and make space for God in our lives.
Lent is the 40 days, 46 with Sundays, in which we are called to work through the boxes of stuff in our lives that normally we might just shove in the attic. In these 40 days, we remember the 40 days that Jesus spent in the wilderness fasting and praying in preparation for the start of his ministry. Likewise, we are called to upon to fast or take up something in our lives that will help us remember this time. This giving up or taking up should be something that impacts us every day, even several times a day, in order for us to turn our lives more towards God.
My friend Tyler has started a great hashtag for this season #makelenthurtagain I think this is both hilarious and makes a great point. The season of Lent is supposed to hurt a little. It calls us to a place where we have to deal with our stuff in the attic, lay these things before God and take up our cross.
Lent matters today because is it gives us an annual time to deal with the mess of life. I don't know about you but it seems like I am always so busy that I just don't have time to process and work through the messy parts of life.
Much like a yard sale, if we truly engage in the season of Lent, we will bring down the proverbial boxes collecting dust in our soul's attic and work through the stuff in them. While this is hard work, and will bring up good and bad stories, Christ will be present in the wilderness; walking with us.
If we can work through the mess, we will find we can have a yard sale of the soul and get rid of the stuff we have been holding onto for so long. We can be released from the bondage of our own mess and find freedom and life in Christ through the season of Lent.
And, if we can do that, then Easter will truly be a celebration of resurrection, which is why Lent matters. Because without the wilderness and cross; the empty tomb loses it's luster.
Yet even now, says the Lord,
return to me with all your hearts,
with fasting, with weeping, and with sorrow;
Tear your hearts
and not your clothing.
Return to the Lord your God,
for he is merciful and compassionate,
very patient, full of faithful love,
and ready to forgive.
Who knows whether he will have a change of heart
and leave a blessing behind him,
a grain offering and a drink offering
for the Lord your God?
So, what boxes do you need to work through this season?