Drawing Near to God
Easter will be here before we know it, and that is really exciting! But before Easter, there is something called Lent.
Lent is about the gospel. It is a time to narrow the focus of the Church to the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, to turn from our sin and trust in His atoning work.
The season of Lent lasts approximately 40 days, excluding Sundays, between Ash Wednesday and Easter Sunday. The 40 days have obvious biblical parallels in the flood narrative (Gen. 6-8), the giving of the Law to Moses on Sinai (Exod. 24:12-18), Elijah’s journey to Mount Horeb (1 Kings 19:1-12) and Jesus’ fasting and temptation in the wilderness (Matt. 4:1-11, Mark 1:9-12, Luke 4:1-13). The last of these accounts is most relevant to the season.
Originally a preparation period for those desiring to be baptized, Lent eventually became embedded into Christian tradition as a season for the Church to symbolically follow Christ into the wilderness. It is a time for fasting and self-denial, though not for denial itself. It is a period to empty ourselves of lesser things so that we might be filled with the greater things of the gospel. Whereas Advent is a season of ever-increasing light awaiting the incarnation of Christ, Lent is a season of ever-decreasing light approaching the cross.
Celebrated each spring as the days begin to lengthen (the term Lent is from a Saxon word meaning “lengthen”), Lent begins on Ash Wednesday, 46 days before Easter Sunday. It is marked by periods of fasting and feasting. Each week, participants traditionally fast during the week and feast on Sundays. This pattern continues throughout the season as the Church journeys toward the Holy Week commencing on Palm Sunday. The final period of Lent is often referred to as the Triduum, beginning Maundy Thursday and continuing through Easter Sunday.
In our context, it is easy to get lost in the cultural expectations of Easter and miss out on the meaning. Lent is a reminder that the resurrection only occurred after the crucifixion. Rather than skipping over the ministry and crucifixion of Christ, Lent is a season to prepare ourselves for the joy of Resurrection Sunday as we enter the sorrow and pain which preceded it.
(Used by permission from The Village Church, Flower Mound, Texas)
Anything that you do, should help you grow closer to God.
Fast from a meal or give up something that distracts you from your relationship with God.
Please note: If you are not experienced with fasting, do not try to do too much at one time and set reasonable expectations for yourself. And do not do anything that will compromise your health...
Take time to pray at certain times of the day.
Maybe set an alarm on your phone to pray every couple of hours or so.
You can also just take time to think about God and be reminded of the fact that He loves you.
Use the "Seek God for the City" booklet (which can be picked up at the church) OR download the app on your phone.
Practice generosity and being a servant.
Perhaps you could give money to someone in need or fix a meal for someone that you know needs it. Or maybe you could give food to the local food bank.
It is our hope that you are intentional with your relationship with God this Lent season. Use this time to help you grow in your faith and prepare yourself for Easter.