There’s a lot of great posting in blogdom regarding Lent. I’m still an amateur of all things liturgical, so I don’t have any delusions of grandeur about my contributions to this topic. But I’ll give it a shot…
As I’ve been reflecting on Lent this season, the thought that continues to reappear in my thinking is “Lent is about love.” It can become easy to hyper-focus on the disciplines and practices of Lent and miss the forest because of the trees.
During Lent we fast. By the way, I hate the term, “giving something up for Lent” like “I’m giving up chocolate for Lent, ” or “I’m giving up TV for Lent.” We are not “giving things up.” Rather, we are fasting. We are reconfirming our dependence on God and rediscovering him as our source of sustenance. So by fasting, we are feasting on the presence of Christ. And by doing this, as we are reminded in Isaiah 58, we are drawn into God’s heart of justice and reconciliation for the world. In fasting, we learn to love.
During Lent we repent. As we reflect on the state of our inner lives, we come face to face with the darkness that lurks in the shadowy crevices of our lives. The rationalizations. The addictions. The denial. The prejudices. This evil is confronted with the way, truth and life that is Jesus. We are invited to weigh our current state with a life in Christ, then to turn away from our self-destruction and receive forgiveness and to learn a new way. Jesus taught that there is a direct correlation to forgiveness and love. The one who has been forgiven much, loves much. The one who has been forgiven little, loves little. As we journey inward, we expose the evil within and experience God’s forgiveness, which in turn, empowers us to love. In forgiveness, we learn to love.
During Lent we pray. We stand in the place of the world’s hurt and pain, groaning with the world for God’s renewal and justice. In prayer, we are the place where heaven and earth overlap, where earth receives heaven’s comforting kiss. In prayer, we learn to love.
During Lent we give and serve. We are reminded again that we are conduits of God’s love and grace through our time, our resources, our hands, our mouths, our lives. In giving and serving, we learn to love.
During Lent we slow down. We refocus and rediscover a refreshing rhythm of life that allows us to reflect, pray, serve and simply be. We make room for God and people. We learn to live in the moment. We learn to see, to listen, to think, and to feel. In slowing down, we learn to love.
Lent is truly about love.