Culturally, Lent is a time when some people give up chocolate, and others eat fish. Maybe, for some of us, forty days without chocolate is as hard as Jesus’ forty days of temptation and wandering through the desert. But the season of Lent is more than just that. It is a time of preparation, a time in which we look inward at our relationship with God, and we look out beyond time towards the cross. We are preparing our hearts and minds for Easter.
Lent begins with Ash Wednesday, when we do something radical: we acknowledge and remember that our lives have a beginning and end. Ashes are placed on our foreheads as a maker that “You are dust and to dust you shall return.”
We read Psalm 51 that says “Create in me a clean heart, O God, and put a new and right spirit within me.” It is a prayerful psalm that acknowledges something just as radical: that, eek, maybe our hearts aren’t clean, and maybe our spirit is not right with God.
And giving up chocolate, or taking on a spiritual practice: these are the small, hopefully meaningful, ways that we journey with Christ as he journeys towards the cross. May your Lenten practices be thoughtful and deep this season, so that we show up on Easter Sunday ready to hear God’s good news in a new way.
Rev. Katie Snipes Lancaster