Lenten Passages ©

“Here I find myself again, Lord. Another Lent has arrived. Starting again and starting over once more. Preparing not for Your birth, but for Your death and Resurrection. And I surrender all to You. Once again.”

Lent ushers in a season of intentional design. It begins on Ash Wednesday and lasts forty days. Forty is a number often seen in Scripture and, as such, has significance. God gave relevance to these forty days so it’s crucial that we examine their importance, especially during the Lenten Season.

Why forty days? The forty-day Lenten experience comes in a spiritual reflection of the forty solitary days Jesus spent in the wilderness. It was here that Jesus was tempted and beguiled by the devil in attempts to turn Him away from His Father in Heaven. It was a battle over good and evil; a battle over flesh and Spirit; and, a battle over things of this world and those of God’s world. It was a battle that He won. With His Father.

Lent has a special quality because we are each to be confronted in our own wilderness. Alone. “Resist the devil and he will flee”, says James 4:8. As the old adage goes: ‘don’t think there’s a devil? Try resisting him’. Whether it’s temptations of the tongue; of the flesh; our vanities, thoughts, actions or addictions, we come face to face with our own iniquities. Our sin. It lurks. And unless we are diligent we can overlook it bearing down upon us. The conundrum we face is whether or not to become its servant.

Lent encourages intentional examination in a special block of time. It is time set aside. Time in a sacred space. A time that always leads to the Resurrection. There is no other place it can lead us. And whatever small steps we take, if we go forward we are closer to divinity. Each step of the way Lent shows Christ in us. And this is what gives us strength. The strength of Jesus, who has promised to be with us during our often-fragile Lenten walk, helps to resist every temptation. And that alone is encouraging.

He is the power through every weakness necessary to journey with us through the wilderness of our own forty-day trial. In each trial, as individual as we are, Christ is waiting to lighten our load as He lights our path. Through an indescribable, incomparable shelter of strength and comfort He leads us. If we let Him.

Lent is as special and intimate as we allow. It can be a short season of superficiality or a passage through oceans’ depths. As in all things, this is always our choice. We can shine His light into our darkest night or simply choose to ignore. We can ‘cry out in the wilderness’ or we can trust wholly in ourselves.

This extraordinary time, this Lenten journey, is able to guide and provide meaning for an entire life. Through our Lord we find renewal and reconcilation in Him year after year supporting maturity through our Seasons of life. Hopefully, transformed a little more closer to Him who is holy.

“Here I find myself again, Lord. Another Lent has arrived. Starting again and starting over once more. Preparing not for Your birth, but for Your death and Resurrection. And I surrender all to You. Once again.”

I like Lent. I like it for so many reasons. Lent provides a time of expression of faith in a unique freedom. I feel I’m able to more readily share my faith with others as I explain why I’m ‘giving up’ something. And that ‘something’ has been coffee for more than a decade. So, when people don’t see me drink coffee they generally ask. It is a great ‘lead-in’ to express my belief and is always followed by a positive reaction.

But this year I kept the coffee. “Why aren’t you giving up coffee this year for Lent?” I’ve been asked. Another ‘lead-in’. This year I’m involved in a ‘round the clock’ prayer group at Church where everyone offers an hour prayer session each day. I don’t believe there’s anyone who wouldn’t think that people on this planet need prayers.

Praying is such a universal concept and I feel Lenten prayers present a unique perspective into God’s heart. Because if one prays to God during the forty days of Lent in faith then Jesus is the focus. And, if we focus on God’s Son for forty days and He is our guide then God will stregthen and provide hope for any challenge. He will help to make our path straight and that will prepare us for the Resurrection of our Lord. This is Truth since time began.

I like Lent because I’ve always met people who want to hear and learn more about it. Sometimes they remember Lent as a child or sometimes it just sounds inviting. The passage of the Lenten Season has so many dimensions to it that it’s inviting on incremental levels. And that makes for great conversation regarding the commitment of faith.

I like Lent because it is meaningful and worthy of time. It spurs me on to be closer and more like our Lord, the focus of Lent. The more I search, I learn. The more I pray, the more I find prayer a constant companion. And the more Jesus becomes embedded in my Soul, the more I want to spend time with Him.

I like Lent because I love to teach and Lent just lends itself to ‘teaching moments’. The only way to teach about the spiritual journey that is Lent is through Jesus. There’s no other way. Without Jesus, there’s no Lenten Passage. It’s all about Him who came to show us how to ‘be’ in a world so fraught with snares that only by ‘crying out in the wilderness’ can we find our way.

As you ‘cry out in the wilderness’ to a Savior who redeems your sins, always remember that you are no longer alone. When you meet the focus of Lent you will experience the freedom that prepares you to come to the cross. And then to the Resurrection and true life.

by DRaborn © dfr March 11, 2011 Soli Deo Gloria

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