Reflections for Lent
Today is the beginning of the 40-day period of Lent, which some Christians observe in preparation for Easter. At CBC, we don’t do anything formal - there is no biblical commandment that requires us to observe Lent. It’s one of those practices that Christians are free to observe or not to observe.
If we think of Lent at all, many people think of giving something up for 40 days – chocolate is high on the list, and fasting is common.
Ruth Haley Barton (The Transforming Center) calls her readers to consider positive practices - not just giving up things - that help us prepare for Easter. How can we draw closer to Jesus, making space to experience grace and grow in love? Here are some questions Barton asks, that we can also ask ourselves:
- How will I give? We think of “giving things up” but how might we be blessed by “giving to” those in need?
- How will I pray? As we “give up” some of our usual distractions, we might make space for prayer, or solitude, or another prayer practice, for this season.
- Who do I need to forgive and from whom do I need to seek forgiveness? Forgiveness creates space for God’s grace to flow in our lives and relationships.
- How will I fast? Fasting is not just from food. What distracts us from our relationship with God? How might abstaining from that distraction make space for something better?
- What earthly treasures am I attached to and how can I let go? What does the way we use our time, finances and energy say about what we treasure? Is there a specific way that you feel God inviting you to “let go” of an attachment to something—at least for this season?
These are good questions for anytime! They are not meant to induce guilt and obligation, but to draw us to experience more of the grace and love of Jesus.
With our busy lives, we might not even be aware that Easter is coming. Don't be legalistic about Lent and giving up, but consider the grace and love of Jesus, and how you might experience more of it this holy Easter season.