Lent Season

Lent Season

It’s Lent! This new season of the church has begun. Have you begun your practice of it? Yes, there are practices! Lent is the season of the church where we attempt to journey even more closely to the ministry of Jesus. Many people will practice this by giving up something of the world (TV, social media, sugary foods or drinks) during the 40 days of Lent. Hopefully we don’t stop there. The point of giving these things up is to replace it with time spent with God. Maybe that’s in scripture reading or prayer. Maybe we give up sleeping in on Sunday to come to church (no pressure, but you are missed).

To be sure, I can imagine what you’re thinking. “It may be Lent, but it’s also tax season and spring cleaning. It’s getting close to spring break for the kids, but before that there’s dance and basketball and band. It’s getting nicer out which means the grass is going to start growing and I’m going to start mowing. There’s so much going on right now that I don’t think I can participate in Lent.” I hear you, and I won’t be hard on you for thinking that. Instead I’ll let Martin Luther do it for me.

When asked about the things that he had to do on a particular day Luther responded by saying, “In fact, I have so much to do today that I’m going to need to spend three hours in prayer to be able to get it all done.” Now if you think this is backwards logic you are right. It is backwards from our regular thinking of work and the placement of spiritual discipline within work. It’s easy to see that spiritual discipline is considered a chore, and thus, when things get busy our first cuts to the agenda of the day is probably these things called prayer and scripture (that’s assuming they made it on the calendar at all).

Luther has it backwards. He considers prayer something that is fueling him for the work today. The more work he has to do in the day, the more time he is going to need to spend with God in order to be ready to handle that work. Spiritual discipline for Luther is not a task to be checked off, it is a thing of necessity for life and grace. You could even argue that Luther is elated to have such a need to spend time with God in this way. Luther has it backwards, but he has it right.
Lent is not meant to be a burden of spiritual practices in our life. It is meant to be something that strengthens us for the work ahead. Consider this: the word Lent can be translated from its old English roots to mean lengthen. Meaning we are lengthening our relationship with God, our time with God, and even our love of God. But I’ll ask you to consider one miraculous possibility. As you practice Lent this season, as you add something on to your daily living, look to see if your day lengthens so that you have room for all things, and especially things of the spirit. It wouldn’t be the first time God stopped the sun for God’s people to see victory. Amen. 

- Pastor Stephan


Last Published: March 2, 2022 11:50 AM
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