My family started attending a Baptist Church when I was in 1st grade. I love my Baptist heritage. I remember at Children’s Camp being taught the importance of memorizing scripture (I won a memory verse competition that came with a trophy—I am not sure that is what the Psalmist was trying to communicate when he proclaimed, “I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you”.) In my Middle School years, I learned the importance of a “Quiet Time”—a daily time of scripture reading and prayer. I love my Baptist heritage, because I was taught that through practicing Christian Disciplines, I am being transformed into the image of Christ…train yourself to be godly. For physical training is of some value, but godliness has value for all things.
It was not until after college I learned the discipline of Lent (and Advent). I learned that Christians all over the world had a time they set aside for intentional reflection of the sufferings of Christ and the implications that had on one’s spiritual transformation. I learned that the time before Easter was called “Lent” and it was a discipline that all types of Christians (and many evangelicals) practice. It was forty days (not including Sundays) where one disciplined oneself in one way or another to focus extra time in investing in one’s relationship with Christ.
After practicing the discipline of observing Lent over the past 20 years, I have come to find out it is not that much different than what Mrs. Smith taught me in third grade Sunday School or what Mr. Sproul taught me in 8th grade youth group… “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.”
The purpose of Lent is to help us focus on our own discipleship, our own following after Jesus. Historically, Christians have seen the time of Lent as a time to FAST, PRAY, and GIVE. Let me invite you to participate in the season of Lent. Starting this Sunday, I will begin a new sermon series where we will focus our attention towards the cross. My sermon series is titled “FEAST”. It might be an unusual title for a time where people tend to fast, pray and give. However, may this season be a time where we FEAST on the better things in life. FEAST on reading the Bible! FEAST on loving our neighbor! FEAST on praying for our enemies! FEAST on knowing that you are a child of God! FEAST on helping others! FEAST—I think it will be the perfect world for Lent 2019. I hope to see you this Sunday!
Grace and Peace,