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If at all possible, I want to be helpful to you.
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What is Lent?
The season of Lent is the 40 days leading up to Easter. It goes from Ash Wednesday to Good Friday, and it skips Sundays. During the season of Lent, believers pick something that is typically enjoyable to give up and go without. Fasting is a word that we use to describe going without food or other things. Moses fasted for 40 days. Elijah fasted for 40 days. Jesus fasted for 40 days. The whole Bible speaks about the importance of taking time to go without. The law. The prophets. The gospel. It all speaks about it.
But I wasn’t sure I really knew what I knew, you know?
It’s kind of ironic, but this ritual was becoming routine. Just thinking about the season as it approached, I was flustered. I felt like I needed to come up with something that was super cool to give up. Maybe I’m the only one, but I felt this pressure to be on the right side of the cool scale as I compared what I was giving up to all of my friends. All of a sudden it was subconsciously about what I think about me and what others think about me instead of what God thinks about me.
So I went searching for an answer. I went searching for what I already knew, but I needed a reminder to really know what I thought I knew. I knew the definition of Lent, but I also knew there was more. I knew there was meaning. Real meaning. And I wanted it.
Meaning of Lent
Lent doesn’t just have a meaning.
Lent is meaningful.
Lent carries me from Ash Wednesday to Good Friday, kicking and screaming, silent and focused, empty and craving, seeking and finding.
We should participate in the season of Lent to prepare for Easter.
Because when we participate, we develop a tension.
We remind our bodies and our souls that our Savior saves.
We walk the road that reminds us to crave the cross.
We can celebrate the resurrection by developing the tension in the weeks preceding Easter.
Lent can have more than a meaning.
Lent can be meaningful.
When is Lent?
Lent for 2014 is March 5th through April 17th.
This year, I’m not sharing what I’m giving up for Lent.
This year, I’m tying my reflection to what God thinks about me instead of what others do.
This year, I’m not searching for the meaning of Lent.
This year, I’m reminding myself that Lent isn’t about Lent.
Lent is about what comes next.
Which really is the journey of life.
Helpful Resources for Lent
If you are interested in reading more about Lent, if you’ve searched and wondered, I can recommend the 2 books that helped me find exactly what I needed.
What about you? What does the season of Lent mean for you and the people in your church?
I usually try to checkout Christmas and Easter services from other churches in the week after those holidays. Perry from Anderson, SC tweeted this out and I was able to watch their service through the link.
— Perry Noble (@perrynoble) December 25, 2013
The level of production is so high, the stories are so powerful, and this is the kind of stuff that makes me love the Church. Well done to Perry and his whole team at NewSpring.
Seriously, if you have an hour, watch it. If not, at least jump up to the 7 minute mark and watch the video they produced where they shot scenes from outside Nazareth and Bethlehem. It’s about a 35 minute video that is the core message of the service. It is so powerful.
This week’s fav tweet was actually retweeted by @robbieseay. I hadn’t heard about Matthew Smith (who is doing some great work in putting new music to old hymns) until this tweet. I hadn’t heard of Thomas McKenzie either (who is an Anglican pastor). But this tweet is pure gold:
"One day, one of these Advents will be the last one." – @thomasmckenzie
— Matthew Smith (@matthewsmithUS) December 10, 2013
So much of the season of Advent centers around looking forward to the coming of the Christ child. I’ve been following Jesus for 15 years, and celebrating His birth doesn’t get old. But some of the traditions start to seem tired. I have a longing for a longing. And this captures it all. It reminds me of the next coming. The advent that isn’t conjuring up a distant memory of an event that I didn’t have a part in.
I’m looking forward to the coming of Jesus. Because He came. And because He is coming.
Light in my darkness, lighten my darkness.
UPDATE: Live New was free on Kindle all day on Friday, November 29th 2013. On that day, 152 copies were downloaded. That’s 152 more people that get to experiment with their new life in Christ. To help get the word out, these quotes were shared on social networks:
It’s been a while since I’ve posted a FavTweetTuesday, but I’ve been favoriting tweets like the best of them anyway. This one goes back to the beginning of November, but it’s a good one.
— TWLOHA (@TWLOHA) November 4, 2013
I love TWLOHA. Ever since they posted their story back in 2006 on myspace, I’ve been challenged to become creative with the way that I am good news to people that live bad news. In an indirect way, Jamie Tworkowski and the whole team at TWLOHA has impacted tons of people. Their encouragement and reminders always elevate the value of people in my life when work tries to win out as the most valuable thing. Work is valuable. But only for the purpose of relationship. People matter. And people need other people. That’s what’s up.
I am the student ministries pastor at OroNaz, the author of Live New, and the operational director of The Axiom. I live in California with my beautiful wife and two children, Bella and Jace. Learn more about me. >>