Friday, February 24, 2012

lenten practice

"I am sometimes asked why churches should observe Lent at all. Well, I certainly agree that of all the seasons of the church year Lent is the most-often trivialized. Consequently, many churches (including some Presbyterian churches) do not observe the season. There are, however, two good reasons for keeping this tradition: First, this is a wise tradition. Realizing that repentance should characterize the totality of the Christian life, we should see the practical wisdom in setting aside time especially for this purpose. Just as a baseball player may work at staying in shape year round but still give special attention to conditioning before the start of spring training, so we may find great spiritual benefits in setting aside a few weeks to give special attention to the state of our souls.
Second, it is right that we honor the traditional wisdom of the church, and Lent is a tradition that the church has observed for centuries. Inasmuch as the Holy Spirit has been present throughout church history, guiding God’s people into an ever-increasing awareness of biblical truth, we believe that it is foolhardy to disregard history and constantly to try to “reinvent the wheel.” We dishonor our spiritual ancestors when we casually disregard their wisdom. Are Christians required to observe Lent? Strictly speaking, no; Presbyterians have long emphasized that our consciences are bound to Scripture alone, and there is no biblical mandate to celebrate Lent. But countless generations of Christians have found this a helpful tool."
by Craig Higgins, pastor of Trinity Presbyterian Church
This year I am continuing a tradition I started a few years ago of taking time each day of Lent to read the Gospel accounts of the crucifixion.  I begin reading just before the Last Supper and continue on until Jesus is in the tomb.  


And that's where I stop.


In other words, I don't read about the Resurrection during the 40 days of Lent (Sundays are not counted in the forty days as each Sunday is a mini-celebration that points toward Easter).


As a Christian, the Resurrection is the crux of my faith.  Everything else is built upon this point.  


But what I realized is that I take the Resurrection for granted.  It no longer awed me.  It was something I just expected to happen.  


But I don't want to take Jesus for granted.  


As I thought about this I decided that I wanted to long for the Resurrection.  I wanted yearn for Him to arise from the dead and proclaim victory.  


By spending Lent focused on Jesus' last hours, I find that I have an insatiable, voracious hunger for Jesus and for the story of His victory over the Curse of long-ago.  And on Easter when I finally hear the words I have been longing for; when it is proclaimed aloud that He has conquered, I am overwhelmed with gratitude and with awe.


2 comments:

  1. I love this post. So thoughtful and well-worded. Thanks for the idea of reading the gospels without the resurrection. Great reminder.

    ReplyDelete
  2. this is really good, sis. makes me think about lent differently.

    ReplyDelete

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