A Journey to Jerusalem
This week begins the Lenten season and our Journey to Jerusalem. Lent is a six-week period in the church-year, excluding Sundays, that begins on Ash Wednesday and ends on the Holy Saturday, the day before Easter. The word Lent comes from an Old English word “lencten,” which means “spring season.” It is the time of year when we look forward to the rebirth of nature in flowers sprouting and budding, leaves returning to the trees and baby birds chirping in their nests. It is as if the whole world is celebrating rebirth as we anticipate our own spiritual rebirth. The season of Lent is a time of deep reflection on the meaning of the cross, the depth of human sin and brokenness, our own mortality, preparation for (or remembering) our baptism, and focusing on certain spiritual disciplines. It falls at the time of year when we are looking forward to the celebrations of Easter and God’s greatest work in conquering death in Christ’s resurrection.
Common practices for the Lenten season are based on the “3 Pillars of Lent:” fasting, service and prayer. God created us as both spiritual and physical beings. Sometimes it takes physical representations to remind us of a spiritual truth. So, it is in this vein that many take on the act of physically giving something up during the Lenten season, or taking on a service project to remember Christ’s humility and service to our broken world. This ‘fasting’ is a physical manifestation of a spiritual truth: apart from God’s goodness, we have nothing. Serving others is one of the ways we can serve God. The 40 days of Lent is our reminder of the 40 days in the wilderness that Jesus experienced before beginning His ministry in the world. Maybe Jesus needed some time with God to sort through the major transitions in His life. Maybe He needed to get away from family, friends and all that is familiar in order to see God (and Himself) more clearly. Perhaps He wanted some intentional time with God as He searched for direction and answers like any of us would do. Like Jesus, we need to take serious time for prayer and listening for God’s still, small voice.
Whatever your Lenten practice, know that this is a time of year when we all make our way to Jerusalem...to the cross...and the only One who can show us The Way is Jesus. Each week of Lent we will explore Christ’s journey to the cross, who He encountered along the way and how He lived and served before making the ultimate sacrifice for each of us. Join us on our Lenten journey.
 “Thankful Praise: a resource for Christian Worship,” Keith Watkins, 1987.  “5 Things to Try Giving Up for Lent This Year,” by Veronica Neffinger, February 19, 2020, Crosswalk.com.  “Lenten Practices Calendar for Families” shared with me by Joy Gooding in 2019.