As you read this we are well into the season of the church’s year called ‘Lent’.
The word Lent comes from the Middle English word for “spring” and Lent comprises the 40 days before Easter, not counting the Sundays. In the early church it was a time when new converts to the Christian faith would be instructed and prepared for baptism at Easter.
It came to be seen as a season to be especially reminded of our need of God’s forgiving love and the fulfilled life possible for each one of us in God. It’s a time for us all, wherever we are on our journey with God, to prepare spiritually for the celebration of Easter. Many Christians of all denominations have discovered that making something of Lent can enrich their worship and deepen their faith in God. And even if you didn’t start preparing at the beginning of Lent, it’s not too late to think about it now!
Part of the preparation for Easter can involve fasting, giving up something special or giving up something that’s potentially harmful to our bodies, minds or spirits during the six weeks of Lent. It can also involve taking something up, giving more time to prayer, spiritual reflection or bible study or to undertaking more acts of service to others. But in anything that we do during Lent it’s good to be clear about why we’re doing it. These aren’t ways of earning the right to celebrate Easter.
Whether we take things up or give things up we’reseeking to encounter the love of God through Jesus as he took up the cross and gave up his life so that we might live. We hope to be changed through that encounter with God and become more like Jesus, a human being filled with God’s Spirit, living for love, freedom and justice; for the well being of all of creation.
Love has its source in you Creator God.
Flows from you like an ocean,
into a world as unyielding as any shoreline cliff.
And like the ocean, which batters, erodes,
and wears away even the hardest stone,
your love persists,
finds cracks and inlets in hardened hearts,
flows inside and works a miracle.
Who would think that water was more powerful than granite,
love mightier than the hardest heart.
Thank you, Creator God for the power of your love. [John Birch]
May we all know the power of God’s love in our lives as we prepare for and celebrate Easter this year.