Let's get down to it, "is Lent worth it?" We as Lutherans have celebrated the time from Ash Wednesday to Easter (and we should include Ascension too), but have we come to a point where it really means "not so much?" Perhaps many think it is that Christian "doom and gloom time?" Yet Christians have continued to observe Lent for centuries. Does that mean so many of us like "gloom and doom?" No, of course not, Lent really can be worthwhile. In the early church, adult candidates for Baptism spent the 40 days (we do not count Sundays) as a special time of intense instruction. They were preparing to be received into the church on the Easter Vigil, the Saturday night before Easter Sunday. Yet, attempting to sit in intense instruction does not appear compatible, does not mesh with our 21st century life. So what can we do?
01) Worship often - In Lent, we like many churches add an extra service beyond the weekend. We begin on Ash Wednesday and flow to the Holy Week. Take advantage of these services to gain a bit more insight in God's love through Jesus Christ.
02) Read some Bible - Give it a try if you have not made this part of your life. Crack open the Gospels and read the passion accounts. (Matthew 26-27, Mark 14-15, Luke 22-23, and John 18-19)
03) Pray - Make some notes on a card for your daily pray life. You do not have to light candles and setup an altar, a conversation with God in the car works (just watch the road).
04) Remember the poor and hungry - Yes, some do not have it so good. So think about what you might do to help. Look for extra clothes never worn, donate. A food bank in the area, perhaps help (donate a few items)? I know the church has ideas.
Yes, Lent can be gloomy thinking about death and pain, of the Savior Jesus Christ and His march to the cross. But His sacrifice for us is the special focus for the Holy Week that completes Lent. We then celebrate with the saints and all His church the glorious resurrection, the promise of heaven for the faithful; and for many, spring time is appearing. Yes, Lent is a spiritual springtime for all of us… Your Pastor(s) at St. Paul