Tomorrow marks the beginning of the Lenten season. While observed by many, the words, descriptions and terms will vary by denomination however all seem to be focused on the reason for the practices.
So what is Lent? How does it relate to our shared path, plus I’m proposing an exercise we can all attempt over the next 40-days. All that is coming up on this edition of “Becoming Today”.
Neither the word Lent, nor any indication of it being a prescribed religious practice appear in the Scriptures. Though the basis for the concept is most definitely in the Bible.
It is a time for Jesus followers to attempt to mirror the 40-days spent in the desert fasting and enduring temptation by Satan. The accounts of those days, which came before His public ministry are reported in the Gospels of Luke, Mark and Matthew.
Now the word Lent comes from the time of year that the events took place. Derived from an Old English word that means springtime, or more specifically the lengthening of the days.
So much like our seasonal change, as Spring will begin 27-days from today, Lent focuses on the themes of renewal, rebirth and blossoming.
The idea of giving something up between now and Easter or Resurrection Sunday, came from the suffering and temptations Jesus made as he prepared for the ultimate sacrifice He would make for us all.
Even in secular culture the idea of giving something up for Lent has increased in practice in recent years. Though without the deep spiritual connection it seems many of the promises of giving something up, fail just as quickly as New Year’s resolutions do.
The thought behind giving up things as simple as chocolate or practicing temporary dietary restrictions on certain days is that when you deny yourself those things, your thoughts will be refocused on Jesus.
It’s a good thought but a mere statement of ‘I’ll go without this…’, is obviously not binding and I do not believe many who publicly proclaim these actions are following through. Also those who call attention to what they claim to be doing it seems are seeking adoration for it and not truly recognizing the need for a more righteous approach.
Over the past several years I have stepped back from the idea, feeling I didn’t want to partake in something that had devolved into a show rather than an action.
However this year, I’m going to begin a practice and publicly hold myself accountable to it.
It has been put upon my heart to deeply explore this Lenten season with a focus on forgiveness and becoming more penitent.
Not an entirely new idea, but as I often do, I’m holding myself to some higher standards. The exercise I will be doing, and inviting you to take part in as well, is “Lenten Letters”.
Beginning tomorrow I will be writing a letter a day addressing something that I need to release, revise or rejuvenate in my life. As I share this idea with you, I’m still uncertain as to what exact format or style these letters will develop as.
It is my intention to let the Spirit guide me into identifying the area of need, and then seeking resolution and support for them. In releasing the ties that bind, I know that growth and healing will follow. My goal is that will refresh my perspective and lead me to my own series of resurrections along our shared path.
I encourage you to consider doing your own exercise. Whether in a journal, a document, video diary or scribbled on the back of a receipt just select whatever form you feel most comfortable with. Plus just because I’ll be doing them daily, you don’t need to, just set your own standards and goals as for the frequency.
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Think about it. Pray about it. Meditate on it. Consider it and then decide to join us for our first Lenten Letter, tomorrow on our next edition of “Becoming Today”.