By Dr. Greg Davis
The season of Lent kicks off on March 1 with Ash Wednesday services at noon and 6:00 at Broadmoor UMC. What is Lent all about?
The word "Lent" comes from a German word for “springtime.” The 40 days of Lent in the Christian calendar recall the 40 days of Jesus’ temptation in the wilderness. Since the fourth century A.D., the Church has observed Lent as a time of “spring cleaning for the soul.” During this season, we imitate Jesus’ withdrawal into the wilderness for 40 days. Lent is a time to evaluate ourselves in light of God’s Word, to abandon sin, and to receive God’s forgiveness and strength.
But really, why “do” Lent? Our lives are filled with distractions that take us away from living a life with Christ. We try to fill the emptiness inside us with mindless TV, going out to eat, lots of exercise, stimulants, alcohol, too many activities or other irrelevant stuff. We run away from life and from God. Lent is a great time to return to God and re-focus our lives to be more in line with Jesus. It’s a 40 day trial run in changing your lifestyle and letting God change your heart. You might try one of these practices for Lent:
FASTING: Some people have been known to go without food for days. But that's not the only way to fast. You can fast by cutting out some of the things in your life that distract you from God. Some Christians use the whole 40 days to fast from candy, TV, soft drinks, cigarettes or meat as a way to purify their bodies and lives. You might skip one meal a day and use that time to pray instead. Or you can give up some activity like worry or reality TV to spend time outside enjoying God’s creation. What do you need to let go of or “fast” from in order to focus on God? What clutters your calendar and life? How can you simplify your life in terms of what you eat, wear or do?
SERVICE: Some Christians take something on for Christ. You can collect food for the needy, volunteer once a week to tutor children, or work for reform and justice in your community. You can commit to help a different stranger, co-worker or friend every day of Lent. Serving others is one way we serve God.
PRAYER: Christians also use Lent as a time of intentional prayer. You can pray while you walk, create music or art as a prayer to God, or savor a time of quiet listening. All can be ways of becoming more in tune with God.
I hope that you will join us at Broadmoor UMC as we ask God to change our hearts and lives during the liturgical season of Lent.