Prepare the way of the Lord! Matthew 3:3b
Dear Friends in Christ,
The season of Lent begins next Wednesday, Ash Wednesday. Lent is the season of preparation before the Feast of the Resurrection of our Lord at Easter, and the Easter season that follows. It may seem sort of strange to prepare to prepare, but let me encourage you to do just that: to prepare for Lent.
What often happens, at least for me, is that the hustle and bustle of everyday life keeps me distracted until Ash Wednesday arrives. Then, by the time I make it to the service, I have already spoiled whatever fast I had intended (especially if I had intended to give up chocolate). Having no sense of what sort of discipline to take on for Lent, and Lent already being underway, I make the excuse that it is too late. This, then, provides me with a new negligence to confess. All of which, of course, becomes a convenient distraction from the growth that I could have received from God had I only been prepared: no avoiding, no distracting, just open to God’s grace and mercy.
Lent is a time for honesty with God about ourselves. Lent is a time for honesty in listening to what God has to say to us in prayer and in Holy Scripture. We challenge ourselves to be free from our habits and compulsions by self-denial. We open ourselves to God’s renewal in self-examination and repentance. We practice forgiveness and reconciliation. We strengthen ourselves for fidelity to Jesus even all the way to the cross and sacrifice, all the more prepared to rejoice at his resurrection.
In Lent, we take a view toward a more redeemed future, one more whole, more at peace, more aware of God’s grace in and through us. I pray that you will let the celebrations and discovery of Epiphany season encourage you toward the life-giving disciplines of Lent. How will you prepare to prepare?
Yours in Christ,