The Goodness of Lent!
February 28, 2023
Hello, Ian from sunny Sydney. Lent started last Wednesday 22 February with Ash Wednesday. It’s a season that marks the 40 days leading up to Easter, mirroring the 40 days Jesus spent in the wilderness. Accordingly, it’s a season when we have an opportunity to consider that we too are sent into a wilderness of sorts by the Holy Spirit so that we can draw closer to Him and deepen our faith.
Often, much of this season can be spent on penitence which can be misconstrued as an emphasis on our sinfulness. As we know when Jesus stepped out of the wilderness His first words were:
“The time has come; the Kingdom of God has come near. Repent and believe the good news.” (Mark 1:15 NIVUK)
This is an invitation to turn our lives around; that’s the meaning of ‘metanoia’ which is the Greek word used here in this verse for ‘repent’. Lent is a great season for us to do just that; take some time with Jesus and reflect on our friendship with Him, how we’d like it to deepen or otherwise.
Glass Half Full
One of the opportunities in Lent is to reflect on the goodness of God. And our inherent goodness as His beloved children. Remember at the end of Genesis 1, God sat back and reviewed all He’d created and regarded it as ‘very good’.
As some of you will recall, I tend to read one or two books during Lent to aid my devotional time. One I’m reading this time is “Small Surrenders” by Emilie Griffin. She says this in one of the early pages:
“One way to spend Lent, even as we reflect on our sins, is to consciously dwell on our redemption. No, the glass is not half empty. It is half full. The full half is the important half, the part that can make our lives complete and whole.” (Kindle edition, 14%)
I love that notion of glass half full. Let’s be people who meditate on the goodness of God, of what we have in being in relationship with Him.
Griffin weaves the idea of daily small surrenders through each page. We often think we need to do “BIG” things to turn our lives around when often it’s the daily choice of surrendering something to God. He understands us, He knows everything we think, and what we’re going to say and do before we say and do. He’s always gracious and always kind.
A small surrender might be to ‘fast’ from something for some days during Lent. Or it might be to linger longer on a Bible passage, to try to sit in silence with God for a few minutes, to pop in next door to say hi to your neighbor who you haven’t spoken to for months.
Small surrenders are a choice. Ours to choose. We might be surprised by the grace we receive in response. As Griffin says, “grace comes little by little. But we can choose” to live a life of small surrenders or not.
Let’s share in the comments whether Lent is a season you observe. If not, that’s okay. There are no brownie points for observing it. If you do, what do you do to observe it. Are there any practices you take up or do you fast? Love for us to start a discussion or two below.
Many blessings, dear SUMites.