Lent is the seven weeks leading up to Easter. It is a solemn season where we travel toward Jerusalem and the cross with Jesus. It is during this time that our prayers and thinking shift. Starting on Ash Wednesday (March 1) we begin to contemplate the meaning of the cross. The cross in its time was a device of torture. It was designed to make a human suffer for as long as possible till the human hung on it died. During Lent, we contemplate our own mortality. From the dust of the earth we were created and when we die we will return to the dust. This is not to say that we our hopeless. The cross also gives us tremendous hope. The cross was also the instrument that God used to save us. Christ died to set us free from bondage of sin. Up until the cross, sin was the ruler of our hearts. Now that Christ died and rose again sin is no longer the slave master.

We now have a new Master, our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. As Paul puts it in Romans 6, “So what? Should we sin because we aren’t under Law but under grace? Absolutely not! Don’t you know that if you offer yourselves to someone as obedient slaves, that you are slaves of the one whom you obey? That’s true whether you serve as slaves of sin, which leads to death, or as slaves of the kind of obedience that leads to righteousness. But thank god that although you used to be slaves of sin, you gave wholehearted obedience to the teaching that was handed down to you, which provides a pattern. Now that you have been set free from sin, you have become slaves of righteousness.” “Slaves of righteousness!” The cross has broken the bonds of sin in your life so that death would not be a fear, but a sign of faithful living for Jesus Christ. We die each day for the sake of righteousness. We die for the sake of love, kindness, joy, peace, justice, and grace. We die each day for the sake of each other and all of creation. This is why Lent is so important to us because it asks the question; “are you willing to die?”

This is why the common Lent practice is fasting. Are you willing to give up some common aspect of your life as a sign that you are willing to sacrifice your life for Christ? You can fast just about anything; food, TV, Facebook, the news, talking about politics, really just about anything that can distract you from the Lord. The only rule to fasting is that it needs to be something that is hard to give up in your daily life. Along with fasting, prayer is also key to observing Lent. Reading the scriptures and prayer go hand in hand. Along with fasting, add more time to your daily lives for prayer and scripture reading. Remember, it is the Word of God that brings life. Let this Lent be a time of transformation in your relationship with God. I hope you join me in this season of Lent…

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