In our typical church calendar, the season of Lent begins with Ash Wednesday and continues through the 40 days before Easter. Many Christians recognize Lent as the time of year when you give something up. Little did we know in February of 2020 that Lent would not come to an end when we reached Easter. Lent seems to have continued for the past year because we have not stopped making sacrifices. We have given up time with friends and family. We have given up restaurants and bowling alleys. We have given up the comfort and freedom of an uncovered face. We have given up the opportunities and stability of a life we once took for granted.
In Lent of 2021, we will still be making some of the same sacrifices as the previous year, but in the midst of the darkness, Christ’s light will shine brightly. In midst of death and sorrow, there is the joy of new life! Our perspective as Christians is everything. We will be tempted to stare at the darkness and be discouraged, but if we never lift our heads, we will miss the beauty of life before us. As spring arrives, we will find ourselves staring once again at the stark contrast between death and life. The juxtaposition of a virus existing alongside of new growth, and suffering existing alongside the beauty of life.
In the midst of uncertainty, illness, and injustice, we can choose how we respond. The challenge I would like to offer you this season is to not only see the evil in this world, but to lift up your head and choose to see the love, joy, and beauty of this life. Behold, God is making all things new, and the more we give of ourselves, the more we will experience the beauty of new life and the joy of living in complete surrender to Christ. If you are giving something up for Lent this year, do so with the purpose of taking on more of Christ.
As things change rapidly around us, let’s slow down and spend more time with Jesus. Lent brings the opportunity to exercise our spiritual disciplines and draw near to God in preparation for Easter. Let’s take this time to reflect upon what might be hindering our relationship with the Lord and seek God’s grace to repair what is broken. As we take this time to pause, may our eyes be opened to the new life that is found in Christ. May the Holy Spirit renew our passion, fill our hearts with joy, and lead us into love so that others might experience the beauty of new life in Christ.
Written by Pastor Austin