Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Lent…only a foreshadowing

So today was Ash Wednesday. On the Christian calendar it is the start of the season known as Lent. During this 40 days leading up to Easter, many followers of Jesus fast to remind them of the Lord's sacrifice and to help them look forward to the celebration of the greatest event in history. Some people have give up bizarre things, as a recent study of Lent tweets revealed.  I have a few reasons myself for why I participate.

But for me, Lent is just a shadow. It is a shadow of the light that burst forth when the crucified Jesus rose from the grave, announcing his kingdom, giving us the hope that we would one day follow, and giving us the power to live like we were intended.

The main even will be celebrated next month. And I intend to celebrate…big time!

If we observe Lent, we need to party on Easter. If we give negative things up for Lent, we should take up good things for Easter. And on that note, let me close with an extended quote from N.T. Wright*. He captures it beautifully:
In particular, if Lent is a time to give things up, Easter ought to be a time to take things up. Champagne for breakfast again - well, of course. Christian holiness was never meant to be merely negative. Of course you have to weed out the garden from time to time; sometimes the ground ivy may need serious digging before you can get it out. That's Lent for you. But you don't want simply to turn the garden back into a neat bed of blank earth. Easter is the time to sow new seeds and to plant a few cuttings. If Calvary means putting to death things in your life that need killing off if you are to flourish as a Christian and as a truly human being, then Easter should mean planting, watering, and training up things in your life (personal and corporate)that ought to be blossoming, filling the garden with color and perfume, and in due course bearing fruit. The forty days of the Easter season, until the ascension, ought to be a time to balance out Lent by taking something up, some new task or venture, something wholesome and fruitful and outgoing and self-giving…It might bring something of Easter into your innermost life. It might help you wake up in a whole new way. And that's what Easter is all about.

* - N.T. Wright, Surprised by Hope, p. 257.

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