The Standard March 10, 2022
“For dust you are and to dust you will return.” (Genesis 3:19)
During the season of Lent, we are reminded of our own mortality. For those who went to worship on Ash Wednesday the minister or priest administered ashes in the shape of a cross on your forehead and likely uttered these words from Genesis.
A week ago yesterday marked the first day of Lent, which is a period of forty days until Easter, not including Sundays. As Jesus spent forty days fasting and praying in the wilderness before beginning his public ministry, Christians take a similar period of time to remember his sacrifice. It is a time for contemplation, fasting, prayer, repentance, moderation and spiritual discipline. Some people give up something for Lent, like desserts, soft drinks or chocolate. Others opt for adding positive practices, like more time in Bible reading, prayer or acts of service. As individuals and families this is an especially good time to consider our priorities and reset them if necessary. All of us benefit from intentionally focusing more on God and on our spiritual lives.
At this point in history in particular, we are reminded of the sin and brokenness within us and in others. We see how badly things go when pride and lust for power overtake someone. Perhaps during the next few weeks we might sense God calling us to sacrifice more than usual in order to help others who have been ripped from their homes and even from their countries.
Here are portions of a lovely prayer from Pastor Scotty Smith for a “grace-full” season of Lent. “Lord Jesus, For the next forty days we have the privilege of surveying your cross, lamenting our sin, and resting in your righteousness. For your glory and our growth, we ask you to inundate us with fresh grace in the coming weeks. Convince us again that we are much more beloved than broken.
Indeed, we don’t want an ordinary Lenten season, Jesus. Melt us in your mercies and overwhelm us with your love. Astonish us with your kindness, for your kindness leads us to repentance. It’s all about you, Lord Jesus. It is all about what you’ve done for us, not what we promise to do for you. It’s not about beating ourselves up, it’s about lifting you up.
Over these next forty days give us an insatiable hunger for yourself, Lord. Reveal new dimensions of your love, and intensify our longing for the Day of consummate joy—the wedding feast of the Lamb.”