Lent – Not Denial But Transformation
Its Ash Wednesday, (yes it is already Ash Wednesday in Australia and New Zealand) the one day of the year when Christians still flock to church for a mid week service. In some circles it’s become a bit of a
Most of us think of Lent with a
Lent is not really about sacrifice and deprivation, it is about freedom and transformation. This is not a time to wallow in our sins and shout woe is me, though it is a time to acknowledge our brokenness, repent of our sins and journey towards wholeness. It is a time to acknowledge the deep longing of our hearts for a more intimate walk with God and consider ways that we might accomplish that.
In the early church Lent was a time of preparation for those about to be baptized. Today it is more often regarded as a season of soul-searching and repentance for all Christians as a preparation for the joy and celebration of Easter. In both cases the focus of Lent is on how to become more effective representatives of Christ and act as
A couple of months ago I came across this quote from Thomas Merton’s Seasons of Celebration.
God’s people first came into existence when the children of Israel were delivered from slavery in Egypt and called out into the desert to be educated into freedom, to learn to live with no other master but God himself. (13)
For me Merton’s words sum up the true purpose of Lent. God wants to educate us into the true freedom of following God with all our hearts and minds and actions. In this season God wants to liberate us from the bondages of our slavery to self centredness, greed, busyness, and rampant consumerism. God wants us to help others be liberated from the bondages of poverty, sex trafficking, imprisonment, addictions, injustice and disease. And God wants us to commit to the liberation of our earth from pollution, deforestation and species extinction.
Read this prayer and spend a few minutes thinking about your commitments for this season. Write them in your journal or on a card you carry with you for the next 40 days.