March Pastor Letter: Living Lent
April 8, 2021 | Mackenzie Phillips
The season of Lent is upon us. It is a period that provides us as followers 40 days to prepare and fast before Easter. From its original establishment at the Council of Nicea in 325 CE, it has been a time of spiritual sacrifice in the hope of restoration.
We have established the custom each Lenten season to sacrifice something. Maybe you have chosen to fast from sugary treats, social media, or binge-watching television. But what is the purpose of our sacrifice? Are we sacrificing because we have been told that’s what we are supposed to do? Are we replacing the things we choose to give up with something that brings us closer to Christ?
Lent is so much more than sacrificing for 40 days. It is about creating a lifestyle of sacrifice and deeper intimacy with Christ. So I ask you: What practice/thing have you put in place of what you sacrificed to become closer to Christ?
Lent will be a wonderful season of grace for us if we give ourselves to it. And we will willingly give up anything if we want it badly enough. We need to prepare our hearts. Lent is a time when we can grow in freedom, lighten our spirits, and realize how some parts of our lives do need change. Lent is a period of restoration, after all.
Preparing our hearts is a process of preparing our desires. This means practicing a sense of anticipation. If we imagine Lent as an “ordeal” or a time we dread in some way, then we’ve already predisposed ourselves to not get much out of it. Lent is a time to anticipate something extraordinary that is about to happen.
Here are some ways we can “ Live Lent” this season:
- Focus: What does God Want to Give Us?
Our sense of excitement and anticipation will grow easily if we begin to imagine what God wants to give us. Something is coming that we can genuinely look forward to. If we focus too much on what we are going to do or not do, we risk missing out on the gift God wants to give us. Lent is about God’s great desire to bless us.
- Give it up
Something all of us can do is commit ourselves to be more reflective during Lent. We can be intentional in being more observant, more aware of what we’re experiencing, more conscious of our automatic behavior. Consider giving up something that distracts you from meaningful relationships, especially your relationship with God.
- Begin New Spiritual Patterns
Considering adding spiritual practices that help you connect with God and be adamant about sticking to them. Read a book of the bible, begin a devotional, take 30 minutes in silence, prayer, and communion with God.
- Share it
Lent was never meant to be something we do alone, but something we can share. Make lent a communal event. Share your Lenten practices with a small group, fellow church members, or those you care about.
May this be a year where we all learn to “Live Lent.