This past Wednesday began the season of Lent with a day we know as Ash Wednesday. Admittedly I missed posting a reminder to our email audience on Wednesday, but didn’t want the week to finish without sharing a few thoughts on the beginning of Lent.
Lent is a period of 40 days from Ash Wednesday to Holy Saturday. The Sundays are not counted in these 40 days, but are meant to be “little Easter’s” that keep the reality and hope of the resurrection in front of us even as we journey with Jesus to the cross.
Lent is not a season mandated in Scripture, but one that Christians for many centuries have found benefit as a season of reflection and repentance. It is a time to review all that Jesus has done for us and a season to reflect on the reality that each of our sins necessitated Jesus’ suffering and death. However, it is not a season of depression, but deep appreciation that “the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all” (Isaiah 53:6).
Ash Wednesday is the beginning of this season and named such for the tradition of making the sign of the cross on the foreheads of believers who recognize their sin and need for their Savior as well as recognize their mortality and need for a solution for death, both physical and spiritual.
As ashes are imposed on the forehead in the shape of a cross the Scripture from Genesis 3:19 is shared, reminding the consequence of sin is death: “…for dust you are and to dust you will return.”
So we begin the season of Lent with a sobering reminder of the seriousness and consequences of our sin, and are encouraged: 1 John 1:8 If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. 9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.
So we begin the season of Lent with a humbling show of love of a Savior who willingly took the burden and guilt of our sin on his own shoulders and faced the wrath of God and the punishment they deserved for each of us. May God truly bless our Lenten journey.
For devotional help and reflection during the season of Lent, here are a few resources:
- A 40 day devotional series entitled: “Moments of Decision” https://forwardinchrist.net/40-days-of-lent/ This devotional series follows the history of Jesus’ final hours from a combination of the four Gospel accounts.
- A brief video explaining the season of Lent: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RkqHQGdPwMo
- Since we weren’t able to have an Ash Wednesday service, I invite you to watch from a sister congregation in Lakeville, MN. They are using the same series, “Hands of the Passion,” we are using at Cross & Crown. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q4FNAAcHbQg
Apply: Enjoy the season of Lent with intentional time to reflect on your need for a Savior and a realization of the great Savior we have.
Prayer: Jesus thank you for carrying our sin to the cross. Lead me to always show sincere repentance and deep appreciation for all you did for me. AMEN.