New Year’s is a time when many people think about what they want to do differently in their lives, with goals for self-improvement that go beyond losing weight or getting to the gym more often. Your reflections might lead you to conclude that you want to be a better person overall or, more specifically, a better friend, a better employee, or a better neighbor. But most people have already broken their resolutions. Are you one of them? Don't despair-- there's still time to change!!! Lucky for you, Lent starts 2/14/18. WHAT??? SO SOON???
Yes, dear reader, it really does. WHAT IS LENT? It's the 40 days between Ash Wednesday and Easter, excluding Sundays. During Lent, we begin with Ash Wednesday, when we confess to God we've sinned, and then observe Sundays (which some count as "mini Easters") until Palm Sunday, when we remember Jesus's procession into Jerusalem.
The purpose of Lent is the preparation of the believer through prayer, doing penance, mortifying the flesh, repentance of sins, almsgiving, and self-denial. This event is observed in the Anglican, Eastern Orthodox, Lutheran, Methodist, and Roman Catholic Churches. Some Anabaptist and evangelical churches also observe the Lenten season. Its institutional purpose is heightened in the annual commemoration of Holy Week, marking the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus, which recalls the tradition and events of the New Testament beginning on Palm Sunday, further climaxing on Jesus' crucifixion on Good Friday, which ultimately culminates in the joyful celebration on Easter Sunday of the Resurrection of Jesus Christ. Lent is traditionally described as lasting for forty days, in commemoration of the forty days Jesus spent fasting in the desert, according to the Gospels of Matthew, Mark and Luke, before beginning his public ministry, during which he endured temptation by Satan.
You can observe Lent by giving up something, or adding something to your life during this period. It's a second chance for those of us who have already broken our resolutions. And it's a chance to rehab your life!
Coincidentally, our Lenten theme is REHAB-- which means "restoration," and the annual observance of the Lenten discipline among Christians is a time to seek restoration for our lives. It is a time to reflect, take stock of our spiritual condition, and realign our lives. There is much to mine from considering our Lenten journey this year within the frame of rehab, much to explore, much to learn. Our themes are:
And then we move into Holy Week, culminating in Easter, 4/1/18!!
So, what will you do to be different by Easter? Will you add something or give up something? The choice is yours!!!
Rev. Sarah S. Wimberley