Growing up in a non liturgical church meant that we didn’t observe the special dates on the Christian Calendar with the exception of Easter and Christmas. I didn’t really know much about Lent. If you had said “Lent” to me I would have looked to see in there was “lint” on my clothes that needed removing.
Three years ago I was in the hospital and the hospital chaplain asked if I wanted ashes on my forehead. “Why,” I asked. She told me it was Ash Wednesday. Silly as it sounds I didn’t know why she wanted to do that, so I politely said “No thank you.” She looked kind of puzzled since she knew I was a pastor. But really it had no meaning to me whatsoever.
Since then I have tried to learn more about the calendar and why the particular days of observance are there. It has been interesting and inspirational. It seems the earliest mention of something like Lent was by a church father known as Ireanus (c. 130 – c. 200). But the observance lasted only two or three days. Hey Ireanus is far enough back in time and has a connection with the first century church that I listened. The season like a preacher’s sermon got longer and longer until today it’s a forty day observance. It’s gone through many changes from the number of days to what’s acceptable to eat or enjoy or not to eat or enjoy. Ash Wednesday mark of the cross on the forehead was Gregory’s idea to remind believers of their need for repentance and forgiveness. Ashes are a symbol of repentance. You know like sack cloth and ashes. Anyway enough history or this will be a long post.
As a non-liturgical Christ follower, I have some ideas that emerging in my thinking about Lent. In conversation with some of my liturgical friends they have found them of interest. So I thought I would share one of them with you.
For Lent, I want to focus on “giving in” to the Holy Spirit’s sanctifying work in my life. “God chose you from the beginning … for salvation through the sanctifying work of the Holy Spirit.” 2 Thessalonians 2:13 (AMP)
I want to give in to the Holy Spirit’s leading. “He is the Holy Spirit, who leads into all truth.” John 14:17 (NLT)
I want to give in to the Holy Spirit’s hope. “You will overflow with the confident hope through the power of the Holy Spirit.” Romans 15:13 (NLT)
I think you get the idea. I’m going to spend this season asking God to search my heart and know my thoughts in anticipation of living as a passionate follower of Jesus Christ.
If you have some ideas on the subject let me know.
Peace and Joy!