Some Thoughts About Lent…

April 1, 2020

When I think of Lent, I put it in the category of a solemn season.

The historical church calendar has many seasons helping us fully reflect on Jesus, and this is one of fasting and penitence, as a common dictionary may say.

Who could have foreseen what we’d be fasting from this Lent only a few weeks ago?

Readings for Lent include the story of the temptation of Jesus in the wilderness from Luke or Matthew, and we see how this 40 days prepared Him for ministry. Through and in Jesus, we see how to respond to the temptations of the world and the challenges we may face.

After this story in Luke chapter 4, the next words we hear Jesus say come as he reads the scroll of Isaiah “The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to set the oppressed free, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.”

This passage reminds me of so many campers who’ve been to Island Lake and Miracle Ranch. I hesitate to say it, but can be quite sure, most would be surprised at the painful stories we hear from many of them.

Jesus came to heal them of the wounds they’ve suffered at the hands of families and friends, to show them love in the midst of feeling ignored, and to proclaim they have value and can find hope and peace in God. To begin, or even re-start as many times as needed, a relationship with Jesus.

The destination of Lent is Easter, but to fully understand the miracle and joy of Easter, we need to travel through Lent. Maybe you managed to give something up. Maybe it all fell by the wayside when our lives changed a few weeks ago. Maybe there’s time to try a new spiritual practice or discipline as well.

Reflect on what you’ve given up or taken on and how it impacts your life and relationship with the Lord. The things we are living without right now are going to feel like such a luxury when we have them again.

Don’t fear.

The year of the Lord’s favor is coming. Many of us will participate in Easter services from the comfort of our couch instead of gathered with the people we want to be with, in church. This season is teaching us church is not a building.

Church is the body of Christ, gathered however we can, believing in a God who still saves. When Easter does come and this season of waiting and fasting is over, figure out how to show the world what it is we celebrate in the resurrected life of Jesus. Let the world see what it is we profess.

After Jesus reads the words from Isaiah above, He says “Today this scripture is fulfilled in your hearing.” As we wait to celebrate the resurrection of Jesus, may God be with you in the observance of a Holy Lent.

Shane Carlson,
Head of Camp

Photo by Grant Whitty on Unsplash