Friends, my favorite liturgical season is almost upon us. We are a little more than a week away from Mardi Gras/Fat Tuesday and then, Ash Wednesday, which marks the beginning of the Lenten season. We know Lent is the pre-Easter season, similar to Advent hallmarking Christmas. It is our opportunity to prepare for the celebration of the Easter season and our Lord's death and Resurrection.
Lent can sometimes sneak up on us, giving us only a day or two to decide what we are giving up. I wanted to just take a moment to encourage you to really consider your faith life this week and how you can use the Lenten season to truly prepare. Lent is built on three tenants: prayer, alms giving, and fasting. All three of these can be used together to create a powerful experience that will help us to draw closer to Christ over the forty days of Lent.
I love the reminder and opportunity Lent gives us; that we can and should try to do better for God because God is coming back someday! Easter is the reminder that there will be a Second Coming and we won't be ready unless we try. An ideal Lenten experience would add prayer and opportunities to give as well as taking away things that pull us away from God.
The "giving up" thing is the most common part of Lent we hear about, "I'm giving up chocolate" or "I'm giving up drinking" or everyone's favorite, Facebook. We shouldn't give up something because it would be "hard" or possibly because deep down, it would be easy. We should give up things that we have a dependence the way we should depend on God, like coffee or happy hour. We should give up things that take time away from our priorities, like Netflix. Or we could give up something small, that we take for granted the way we take our faith and family for granted so frequently, like our pillows or listening to the radio on our way to work. We give up things, not to prove that we can or to suffer for our faith, but to help us realize there are greater things in life than our worldly possessions and experiences.
I will be offering a Lenten series this year, starting on Ash Wednesday. A Mindful Lenten Experience is going to focus on the three tenants I mentioned earlier and apply them to our daily life, helping to make a Lent a more intentional faith journey this year. Please join us for this opportunity to grow and share in our faith together.