The What and Why of the Forty Day Journey of Lent
[The purpose of participating in the rhythm of Lent is not to force on us external obligations or expectations and requirements of man’s religion.]
Two generations ago the average Christian understood Lent to be the 40 days of prayer and fasting leading up to Easter. One generation ago the average Christian thought that Lent was a quaint, but outdated church event that consisted primarily of negative rules and prescriptions. Today people, if they know the word Lent at all, only think of it as the days following the parades and parties of Mardi Gras.
But Lent, more than just days on the calendar, is one of the spiritual rhythms of the Christian life. Just as breathing, inhaling and exhaling, give life to the body, the cycle of the Church year and its richly significant Holy-days gives life to believers. Celebrating the Birth of Christ at Advent, the passion and resurrection during Lent, Holy Week and Easter, and the growth of the Church under the guidance of the Holy Spirit during Pentecost and Normal Times are the rhythm’s that can guide the praise, worship, and “day to day” life of the Church.
[As we offer our thoughts, words, and actions of the day to God, we begin to find that intimate communion with Him, and the chaos and distraction of life has less pull and influence on us.]
The purpose of participating in the rhythm of Lent is not to force on us external obligations or expectations and requirements of man’s religion. The purpose of Lent is an open invitation to soften our hearts, to awaken us to the presence of the Holy Spirit calling our hearts to hunger and thirst for a deeper love and Communion with God, and increased trust and fellowship with others. As we take on some of the traditional disciplines of fasting, prayer, service to others, or any external adjustment in our life to which we are not accustomed, little by little the Spirit begins to work a much-needed transformation (change) in us. As we offer our thoughts, words, and actions of the day to God, we begin to find that intimate communion with Him, and the chaos and distraction of life has less pull and influence on us. We reach a place where the pressure from life’s difficulties and anxieties has less power, restoring to us the peace of God, and the inner stability needed to navigate real life living. It is spiritually healthy for us to gain insight from the feelings of sadness and the burdens of our journey on this earth, and the difficulty we may have created in our lives. Yet we also feel joy as we enter the brightness and strength of truly experiencing God’s presence, the joy of being welcomed back home into God’s arms and into the heart of our neighbor. This year we will begin Lent with the Ash Wednesday Gathering. Pastor Steve and the Reunion Elders will lead the simple gathering with a time of personal Communion and the traditional Ash observance.
What: Ash Wednesday Gathering
Time and Date: 6:00p – 6:45 on Wednesday Feb 18th.
Location: Reunion Church - Worship Room