Don’t you hate it when the conversation around you is filled with terms that you don’t understand. It is as if they are speaking a foreign language. My eyes glaze over when people start using “tech-terms.” I am anything by tech savvy and I am easily lost in the conversation. I do what many of you do in these situations I nod my head as if I understand while in my mind I’m thinking: ‘I have no idea what they are talking about.’
This happens frequently when the conversation turns to religion. Often those who have spent a significant time in church use language that is foreign and actually meaningless to those who are not familiar with the terminology being used. Yesterday may have been a perfect example, it was “Ash Wednesday.” You may have seen people with a ash cross on their forehead and if you ask them about it they may have responded that it was “Ash Wednesday,” the beginning of Lent. After they left you may have been just as confused as when you ask the question.
Lent is a period of time 40 days (excluding Sundays) prior to Easter. It is not mentioned in the Bible but it became a time period of significance for the early church. It was formalized at the First Council of Nicaea in 325AD (A council convened by the Roman Emperor Constantine, to resolve certain controversies within the church at the time – AD is a Latin term that means “in the year of our Lord”).
Lent focuses on the idea of repentance and prayer and is observed in various means by different faith traditions (thus the ash cross on “Ash Wednesday”). Lent has long been associated with the act of sacrificing something, usually a cherished food to show one’s willingness to make sacrifices in preparation for the Easter celebration of Christ’s resurrection. Some faith traditions connect this time of abstinence with Jesus’ experience of fasting for 40 days in the wilderness prior to the start of His public ministry. I have in the past promoted the idea of using this time period to flip the script, to make a different kind of sacrifice on behalf of honoring Christ. The idea is during the 40-day time period to intentionally share 40 acts of kindness toward others. The gestures may be great or small but they are done with the intention of bringing honor to Christ.
Today as you consider Bending-A-Knee in prayer at noon may you ask God to direct you to set aside the period of Lent as a time to intentionally honor Christ in your life. The act is not as important as the attitude of your heart. Perhaps the actions during this time period may result in you assimilating them into your life throughout the year.
Stay connected to God & to others