Ash Wednesday is next week, March 5. The it’s on to the 40 weekdays plus the intervening Sunday to Easter.
In Lent we enter into new combat with the world, the flesh and the devil and learn new repentance, seeking to grow in the skill of searching out our wandering hearts and checking the rising tide of wanting, wanting, wanting. We freely adopt the responsibility to “mortify the flesh” in filling up the afflictions of Christ, reminding ourselves that he who dies daily dies easily.
I will be using Scott McKnight’s 40 Days of Living the Jesus Creed. The Jesus Creed, that which taught is to be believe and to be done, is the two greatest commandments – to love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, strength and mind, and to love your neighbor as yourself. McKnight offers 40 days of devotions on these two commandments of Jesus. Lent moves beyond giving up chocolate and potato chips for 40 days, though do not discount what saying no to our daily urgings can do for heightening love of God and love of man. Practiced self-denial prepares the way for deeper love. Can he who cannot give up a Hershey’s Kiss truly kiss the face of God and the face of his brother?
May this Lenten season be a soul-shaping and joy-instilling season. And then may Resurrection Sunday answer to all your longings for victory over the gravity of worldliness and the rising above for which we all long.