Lent is the period of forty days before Easter that is characterized by prayer, penitence, almsgiving and self-denial.
The word is derived from the Anglo-Saxon word lengten meaning ‘Spring’.
The symbolism of Spring is one that we will put to use during our time together. In the Spring, we think about rebirth and New life and these are concepts that are close to the heart of Eastertide.
Look at the lyrics below and listen to the song on the video- link.
Use the time to contemplate where you are in your spiritual walk.
Every Season by Nichole Nordeman
Every evening sky, an invitation
To trace the patterned stars
And early in July, a celebration
For freedom that is ours
And I notice You
In children’s games
In those who watch them from the shade
Every drop of sun is full of fun and wonder
You are summer
And even when the trees have just surrendered
To the harvest time
Forfeiting their leaves in late September
And sending us inside
Still I notice You when change begins
And I am braced for colder winds
I will offer thanks for what has been and was to come
You are autumn
And everything in time and under heaven
Finally falls asleep
Wrapped in blankets white, all creation
And still I notice you
When branches crack
And in my breath on frosted glass
Even now in death, You open doors for life to enter
You are winter
And everything that’s new has bravely surfaced
Teaching us to breathe
What was frozen through is newly purposed
Turning all things green
So it is with You
And how You make me new
With every season’s change
And so it will be
As You are re-creating me
Summer, autumn, winter, spring.
As we move from Winter to Spring, we cannot help but think about how the circle of life moves us from life to death to life again.
In what parts of your life are you experiencing spiritual dormancy or death? Have you ever experienced spiritual newness preparing to 'bravely and boldly burst forth'? What does that feel like?
As we enter the Season of Lent, which culminates in Easter, or Resurrection Sunday, we take the time to prepare ourselves to be fully aware of where we are spiritually. Lent is the season for the experience of giving your life over in each moment- heart, soul, mind and strength- to God. This “giving over” involves a deliberate surrender to Christ and to what the Holy Spirit is showing us. As we surrender ourselves to God and let the Spirit work in us, we “die to ourselves.” But this is a good thing, not a bad one, because it is only through dying to ourselves that we gain New Life.
In Lent, we take responsibility for our actions, and passions, and we take our thoughts captive. Because we are eager to lose all those things which separate us from loving God completely, we take this time to learn ways that will form us into more loving and receptive children. Only when we are formed by the Holy Spirit into loving and receptive children can we experience fully a satisfying relationship with God. We don’t learn spiritual practices or perform spiritual disciplines as a way to curry favor with God or try to gain our salvation. We humbly acknowledge that Christ has already done that for us, because we NEVER could achieve salvation through our works. Yet we also recognize the importance of making an intentional effort to do things that are life-enhancing and which will draw our full attention to the New Life offered to us through Christ.
As we travel this journey together, we will be focusing on being followers of Jesus, by looking at what it means to be "formed in his image" and we'll be aking the question:
"So What? What difference does following Jesus make?"
One of the ways in which we will be doing this is by learning about what Scot McKnight refers to as “The Jesus Creed,” and what Mark Batterson refers to a Primal Christianity. We will discuss what it means to love God with all our heart, soul, mind and strength. We will also learn and develop spiritual practices/disciplines (habits) that can heighten our desires for, awareness of, and love of God and which will also strip down the barriers that we put up within ourselves between us and God and us and others.
Come back daily everyday between now and Easter Sunday for more lenten thoughts.
Please visit Christine Sine's inspiring blog, Godspace for more thoughts on Following Jesus, what difference has it made?