Saturday, February 24, 2007

40 days

This week marked the beginning of Lent, the season of 40 days leading up to Easter. Here are a few scattered thoughts on the season.

Lent is the beginning of the end. (Of course, ‘the end,’ we will later find out, is only the beginning. But that has to wait.) This is the part of the play that grows dark and heavy. Tensions tighten. Traitors whisper. Jesus turns his face toward Jerusalem. And we follow him on his journey to the cross, embracing it for ourselves as well.

Lent is a time of submission. A wilderness experience. A desert exile. A season of prayer and fasting. People often fast during these 40 days from something they love. Every time we reach for that former love, we are reminded of our first love.

Lent is a time of memory. ‘Remember your frailty, and put your hope in Jesus.’ That’s how our speaker for the Ash Wednesday service put it. We begin lent by being marked by a cross of ashes, reminding us in two bold strokes of our past despair and our future hope. This is one of those things that is layered with richness if we will look for it.

Lent is a time of repentance. A season when we are honest with God and ourselves about sin, and our desperate need for rescue and redemption. Repent and believe the good news.