Lent, a journey to the cross

This past week on March 9, many Christians recognized Ash Wednesday as the beginning of the season of Lent.

Until a few years ago, I didn’t really know what Lent was all about.  In 2005, I took a position as pianist at a Methodist church.  During my year and a half with that congregation, I was introduced to Lent along with many other worship experiences.

The Methodist services were filled with traditional symbols, prayers and songs. I determined to participate with a worshiper’s heart.

I found the Lenten season quite meaningful.  From Ash Wednesday to the weekend of Good Friday and Easter, we were admonished to prepare for and walk toward the cross, the place of Jesus’ death.

As I understand it, the main point of Lent is for Christians to examine their own hearts and lives in light of the work of grace completed in and for us.  Are there sins we are committing that need to be confessed and eliminated?  Are there sins of omission, commands left undone, that we need to start doing?  It is not a time to point fingers at others; rather I am to look deeply at myself.

During Lent it is a practice to give up something enjoyable as a way of denying earthly desires and so draw closer to God by crucifying the flesh.

The 40 days represent the duration of Christ’s temptation in the wilderness at the beginning of His ministry, as recorded in the Gospels of Matthew, Mark, and Luke.

Please understand, there is no means of us being saved by participating in Lent or by giving up something pleasurable.  Salvation is only by God’s grace, a free gift to each individual willing to receive it.

What I appreciated about Lent was the continual reminder of what we are looking toward, and that is Jesus Christ crucified for us sinners.  How often I have planned for my new Easter outfit, matching the shoes to the dress, without every really considering the cost of my soul’s freedom from the debt of sin?

I place a challenge before us with six weeks until Good Friday. Let each of us give thought to God’s unusual and magnificent plan for our salvation. Can we think of more than just a new outfit, getting a fresh haircut, filling an Easter basket with candy, or dying eggs?

Seek to know the love of God that surpasses earthly knowledge.  It is vast beyond measure.  It is lavish and pure.  It is worthy of our meditation and a reason for thanksgiving.

 How Deep the Father’s Love for Us

 How deep the Father’s love for us, how vast beyond all measure
That He should give His only Son to make a wretch His treasure
How great the pain of searing loss, the Father turns His face away
As wounds which mar the chosen One bring many sons to glory

 Behold the Man upon a cross, my sin upon His shoulders
Ashamed I hear my mocking voice call out among the scoffers

It was my sin that held Him there until it was accomplished
His dying breath has brought me life.  I know that it is finished

I will not boast in anything, No gifts, no power, no wisdom
But I will boast in Jesus Christ, His death and resurrection
Why should I gain from His reward? I cannot give an answer
But this I know with all my heart, His wounds have paid my ransom

by Stewart Townend

 

Will you join me on my journey?  Please leave a comment.  Let’s travel together. 

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2 thoughts on “Lent, a journey to the cross

  1. Pingback: The day God died « strengthened by grace

  2. Pingback: The season | strengthened by grace

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