Lent is misunderstood sometimes. I admit that sometimes I do. What does it mean to celebrate Lent, when there is nothing conducive to a celebration in abstinence or giving up something for the season? Hard to pinpoint the answer.
In southern cultures, like the Caribbean and the Southern US, the emphasis is not in celebrating Lent, but celebrating before it. Mardi Gras, literally Fat Tuesday (also known as Shrove Tuesday), becomes the focus of celebration, mostly because it is the opportunity to indulge before the sacrifice. Indulgence takes on different forms, but the point is that the celebration is a way to dive into excesses before a season of deprivation.
Lent has become less of a time for spiritual renewal and more of a placeholder in the calendar, for partying mostly. How do we motivate and get inspired for such an observation, bringing the focal point back to the season?
As Mountair Christian Church enters this season, perhaps we as a congregation can see this as a celebration of God with us; the acknowledgment that our Creator is present. As such, we can celebrate with an emphasis on spiritual renewal, not as a time of want but as a time of plenty. God has poured himself into us through Jesus. Acknowledging God’s presence is the step that can drive us to worship.
Don’t you think it’s interesting that the 40 days of Lent do not count Sundays? That can be understood as an acknowledgment that for church goers Sundays is the easy and natural time of worship and that God is calling us to worship each of the other days. Perhaps we can create a time of sacrifice and of worship, where we dedicate 30 minutes or an hour to meditation, prayer, reading, contemplation, and why not a musical worship party! This time can be transformed from penitence to offering, from lack to plenty, from sorrow to celebration.
If you want to have a focus for this long season, I suggest prayer for the future of Mountair Christian Church and its mission. And, the process of inviting others to participate in the mission/vision to Reach, Teach, Serve. And, our own spiritual growth. And, our involvement in the spread of the Gospel. And, there is more; we may just ask God to reveal that to us.
Be very blessed,