This month, begins the season of Lent in the Christian church. Lent is a season of forty days, not counting Sundays, which begins on Ash Wednesday and ends on Easter Sunday. Lent comes from the Anglo Saxon
word lencten, which means “spring.” The forty days represents the time Jesus spent in the wilderness, enduring the temptation of Satan and preparing to begin his ministry.
Throughout the gospels, we see an invitation that Jesus offers his disciples: “Follow me.” In my mind, I imagine Jesus invited many people to follow him on a journey, but the gospels only tell of those who accepted the invitation. Regardless, we know that following Jesus was life-changing for those who accepted the invitation. To follow Jesus, they left everything they knew and stepped into an unknown – or a wilderness. These first disciples gave up a lot to follow Jesus and remind us that faith is a journey that begins with self-denial and obedience as we accept the invitation to follow Jesus.
It is typical during the season of Lent for someone to give up something as a form of fasting. This spiritual practice reminds us of our need for penitence and repentance. I know many people who choose to give up chocolate or soft drinks. Others will choose to give up coffee or fast food. This act of self-denial is meant to identify something that is a barrier for you in your faith journey. I once chose to give up homework for Lent and tried to convince my mom it was a hindrance to my time with God (it did not work). What is something you need to give up that has become a barrier on your journey with God?
But instead of giving up something for Lent, maybe you will think about taking on a new spiritual habit or discipline this Lent. Perhaps you will set aside time each day to read Scripture or pray. Maybe you will find a way to serve someone each week. Last year, Kayla wrote in a journal different Bible verses each day during Lent. What can you add to your daily practice that will help you on your journey?
As you prepare yourself for this season of Lent, I want to encourage you to spend time thinking about these questions. Throughout Lent, I will share with you some spiritual practices that can help you grow in your relationship with God. I am also excited about our new message series we will begin on March 10, The Lord’s Prayer: Praying Like Jesus. I hope you will plan to be with us in worship and invite someone to be with you.