Lent – Day 1 by Alyssa Low

Lent.  As Ryan said yesterday in his email to you all, it's a sobering time.  Why is it sobering?  We are preparing our hearts to witness first hand our sin before us.  The purpose of seeing our sin before us, examining it, contemplating it with the Lord is to then release it to him.  That it is forgiven and forgotten.  My sin is a very sobering thought when I sit and really enter into my habits, my hiddenness, my capacity to lie, cheat, steal, destroy…but what is more sobering and yet incredibly hope filled is that this is also the time that God shows us that even though our sin is ever present, He has sent his Son to bring us freedom.  What Christ walks through in these next 40 days, the road to the cross and his resurrection, is what brings us freedom! What would we do without this freedom?!?   Entering into your sin is not to put distance between you and the Lord,  or to be a time to invite punishment on youself-it's to bring you together, to move towards the One who says, “Come to me, those who are heavy laden and I will give you rest.  Take my yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart and you will find rest for your souls.  For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” Matthew 11:28-30.   Together, let's walk this road.

 

Prayer.  Prayer is the first part of the journey.  Pause would be another word as well.  This isn't just a time to think about something you should give up like TV, coffee, meat, thrifting (that's more for me than you all I suspect!)…fasting is a part of lent.  But there is a purpose behind fasting.  That is the pause and prayer part.  Pause and take inventory of your life.  What is something that keeps you from Christ?  Ryan talked this weekend about barriers in our life, what barriers are keeping you from experiencing the Freedom that Christ gives to you, to me?  That barrier might be the thing to fast.  Because when you are drawn to that particular thing, to enter into that activity, that is when you have a choice-do I break the covenant with Christ I have during these 40 days and enter into this activity, or do I use that hunger that I have for said activity and move towards prayer?  Ceasing participation in what you give up is not a punishment or even suppose to be something relatively easy where you wouldn't miss it.  Another layer to consider is this-it's also a very small token of sacrifice as you see, taste, sense, experience in a very small way, the sacrifice Christ is about to make on our behalf.  What was that even like for him?  To give up his life?!  What would it be like for us to sacrifice and fast some small, yet significant thing in our life for 40 days to allow us to journey with Christ towards freedom?  So, pause.  pray.  Think about something to sacrifice that would move you towards Christ in prayer during these 40 days.

 

What a blessing it will be to journey these 40 days together.   Peace to you.