Earlier this week my friend shared with me how he is spending time over the next few days reading through the story of Jesus' final week before his crucifixion.
Spending that much time entering in those crucial days in the life of Jesus (and the life of the world) seems like a valuable way to spend some of my life, but in hearing it sounded like so. much. work!
Then I heard my friend share about the time he has spent, not talking about the toil and pain he endured (there wasn't any), but the joy he has experienced! He very winsomely shared how he entered in to Jesus' life in the pages and, more than that, he got to experience that very same Jesus through those pages.
Okay, how could I find any fault in that? I can't. He has been "lenting" and the encounter he has had with the Living Savior has been worth the "sacrifice."
"Lent" to me in the past has been a foreign word to me. I have understood that it is meant to be a time of preparation and reflection, but it seemed too "traditional," too "liturgical," or too "I have to prove myself to God"-ish.
I am slow to learn the "why" behind things, especially when it is easy just to write a people or a practice off because it is not "my tradition."
Also, with a smug self-righteousness, I am tempted to say "I celebrate Jesus' death and resurrection all year not just for 40 days!" The truth is, though, that's not true. Most days I deliberately don't seek to treasure Jesus through meditating on his glorification at the cross and out of the tomb. Spirit, please change that in me!
Whether it is Ash Wednesday, Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, or some Ordinary Monday, what seems to matter most is that I might be AFFECTED by this one who would walk through the ultimate valley of the shadow of death and come out joyful on the other side. I want this to not only be meaningful, but to mean something to me! I want the passion week to fuel a like hearted passion for my Savior.
So, even though I am late to the event, I am repenting of not Lenting.
This is not a work to gain God's favor for me. It is a work because I have God's favor as his child. (Romans 8:31-32) This is not mere traditionalism, but a tradition that stands up because it can mean something, well, meaningful.
What that means is that I am going to seek to be awed by this Man. I will sacrifice a little time to enter in Jesus' experience to know him deeper, to trust him more. And, as a response, write about that here.
Would you consider reading through this part of his life with me this next week? Its not full on Lenting, but I'm learning.