Emerging from the fog of comfort (Lent)
Every year you celebrate your birthday. And every year you celebrate Christmas and Easter. These celebrations are marked by joy, gifts, and festivities. Then there’s Lent.
In some church traditions Lent is very structured and somber. In others it’s ignored completely, due to the fact that it’s not in the Bible. But when Lent is rightly understood and wisely practiced it can have a real powerful “head-clearing” effect on our lives. So over the last several years we’ve encouraged everyone at Seneca Creek to rethink their approach to Lent, and to consider temporarily inconveniencing ourselves. Here’s a quick overview to consider:
WHY? Lent is a way to bring focus to our pursuit of Christ. The comforts we enjoy in our culture can create a fog in our spiritual lives, obscuring what is really important to us. By removing the comfortable distractions, we create opportunities to connect with God. It can also help us identify with the sufferings that Christ went through for us, sort of like when you give up a meal out of solidarity with those who are starving. And it creates tremendous anticipation of, and appreciation of Easter Sunday when it finally arrives!
HOW? Prayerfully consider what changes may help you pursue Christ, listen to the Spirit, and connect with God. This is not a duty or an obligation. If you’re dreading it, you may want to step back and understand why.
WHAT? It’s extremely flexible. Some choose to forego a luxury or habit, such as sweets, chocolate, alcohol, television, or movies. Others choose to adopt a new practice, such as prayer walking, meditation, generosity to strangers, reading, or serving others. You may want to discuss your options with a mentor or friend. The key is that your choices help you pursue Christ.
WHEN? Lent begins on Wednesday, Feb. 13 and continues until Easter Sunday. Traditionally, the practices of Lent are lifted each Sunday in order to celebrate Christ. The total number of days observed will then be 40. That number has biblical significance, from the Israelite’s 40 years of wandering in the wilderness, to Jesus’ 40 days of fasting.
WHO? This is something you can do on your own. However, most people find it helpful to share the journey with others. Talk about your commitments, but then also share how you’re experiencing God during this season. If you’d like, you can add your comments at in the section below.
So I challenge you to join us this year in the Lent Experiment. Really, what do you have to lose? It’s only 40 days. And it’s only a small inconvenience to our comfort. In exchange for a little comfort, you may very well experience God like never before.
I look forward to the journey with you this year.