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.   


So, during Lent we explore the inner parts of who we are.  We take a hard look at our own sinfulness, pride, and self-destructive lifestyles.  We are horrified but encouraged to not hide from the truth.  Instead, we turn to God with repentant hearts, rejoicing that because of Easter, we are made anew – ready to become the people God created for us to be.  Often the practice goes like this.  During Lent we offer up a sacrifice or fast to God – to help get our attention away from the demands of the false self, so that the Holy Spirit can lead us to repentance.  Repentance then leads us to the further and deeper work that Jesus has for our lives.  Come join us at Alpine Lutheran Church this Lent as we continue to discover God’s call in the not yet.  There is a much deeper work inside of us that awaits.



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