As Lent is now upon us, I would like to share with you one of my favorite Lenten quotes:
“In many cultures there is an ancient custom of giving a tenth of each year’s income to some holy use. For Christians, to observe the forty days of Lent is to do the same thing with roughly a tenth of each year’s days. After being baptized by John in the River Jordan, Jesus went off alone into the wilderness where he spent forty days asking himself the question of what it meant to be Jesus. During Lent, Christians are supposed to ask one way or another what it means to be themselves…to answer questions like these is to begin to hear something not only of who you are but of both what you are becoming and what you are failing to become. It can be a pretty depressing business all in all, but if sackcloth and ashes are at the start of it, something like Easter may be at the end.” — Frederick Buechner, Whistling In the Dark
This quote helps me both to understand the significance of Lent and to guide me in establishing the right frame of mind. It touches on the importance of sacrifice that Lent teaches us but also points us to the tremendous award that awaits – Easter. Sometimes people feel that Lent is just an inconvenient bump in their schedule, something that needs to be “waded through” so we can get on with our lives and not make God too unhappy with us. The reality is that Lent provides us with an opportunity to step out of our normal way of living, to try and hold back the negative pressures of our pervasive culture, to examine our present lives and plot a course towards God, not away from God. Yes observing Lent involves sacrifice. But as we observe Lent, Easter and all its promises are made all the more significant – promises of new life, hope, and victory.
Lenten Opportunities at Alpine:
Lenten Worship Series Living Lent: Each Wednesday during Lent we gather for a soup supper at 6 PM. Immediately following at 7 PM we gather in the sanctuary to examine what Hopeful Living looks like.
Take part in fasting. Chose something to sacrifice during Lent, so that we can better identify with the sacrifices that Jesus made for us. The key here is to take the time and resources we would have spent on our chosen item/habit and use them instead to focus on our relationship with Christ.
Lenten devotionals and bookmarks will be available in the gathering area. Grab one and explore (each day) what Living Lent means with a short reading, prayer, and response.