March 1st starts the Lenten season. If you are wondering what lent is, let me share with you a section from the United Methodist Church’s web site.
Lent is a season of forty days, not counting Sundays, which begins on Ash Wednesday and ends on Holy Saturday. Lent comes from the Anglo Saxon word lencten, which means "spring." The forty days represents the time Jesus spent in the wilderness, enduring the temptation of Satan and preparing to begin his ministry.
Lent is a time of repentance, fasting and preparation for the coming of Easter. It is a time of self-examination and reflection. In the early church, Lent was a time to prepare new converts for baptism. Today, Christians focus on their relationship with God, often choosing to give up something or to volunteer and give of themselves for others.
Sundays in Lent are not counted in the forty days because each Sunday represents a "mini-Easter" and the reverent spirit of Lent is tempered with joyful anticipation of the Resurrection.
Good Friday and Easter are just around the corner. Sometimes they sneak up on us so quickly that we don’t have time to truly live in these moments too deeply. I think this is where Lent is helpful. Lent gives us time to prepare, reflect, and repent. It gives us the opportunity to take a longer and deeper look at the cross and the resurrection.
So I want to encourage us all to use this season. A lot of times people will give something up for lent. Giving something up gives us a continual reminder what we are heading toward, the cross and an empty tomb. Sometime people take on something; this can have the same effect. The real question is what is going to help you to slow down and remember that you are on a journey to the cross of Christ and a tomb that lies empty? We need to be drawn back, because life can just speed away from us and before we know it the Easter ham will be in the oven and family will be gathering and we will sing and worship, but there is an opportunity for us to journey toward it and not just suddenly be upon it.
So use this season to journey. Use this season to keep your focus on what is coming and be drawn even deeper into what that means. Give something up, start something new, prepare, reflect and repent. Good Friday and Easter will be here before you know it, don’t let it sneak up on you, journey to it and let it be something more.
Because of Him,
Rev. Lynn Beach is married to his college sweetheart, Michelle, and they have two adorable daughters. He has been at Park Church since July 2013.