The Meaning of Lent

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Wednesday, February 10th marks the beginning of Lent, a season when God’s people historically prepare for the celebration of Resurrection Sunday (Easter).  The 40 days leading up to Resurrection Sunday are devoted to focusing our hearts and examining our lives in light of God’s great gift of salvation.  In short, Lent is a season of preparation for the ultimate purpose of experiencing greater life; a life of resurrection.

If we are gut wrenchingly honest, we would acknowledge the cavern of space between Christ’s life and ours; even Jesus’ promises to the church can seem out of touch.  Lent is the opportunity to ‘arrange our life around the practices that Jesus engaged in to receive life and power from the Father.’ –Dallas Willard.  The thought of transformation into a greater life is water to our soul.  This is the purpose of the Lenten fast.

During Lent we may choose to fast from certain practices (radio, TV, texting, surfing the web, video games, reading magazines/fiction) or particular foods (sweets, meat, alcohol, ice cream, lunches) for the purpose of taking up other practices (prayer, solitude, greater giving, serving, spending time with shut-ins, meditation).  By fasting from certain things, we practice dying to ourselves.  We choose disciplines that help us become the kind of people God desires us to be.  The Lenten Sacrifice is not God wanting something FROM us, but FOR us: a people fully alive!

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