Today marks the start of Lent, 40 days of preparation for Easter. I have never before participated in Lent. I guess that it was for different selfish reasons, not fully seeing the need, and honestly many years the start of Lent passed me by and I didn't even realize it until days later.
This last Sunday we visited my friend Kathy's church (yes we are still church shopping). The pastor gave an awesome message based on the Parable of the Seed. He challenged us to look at the season of Lent as preparing our soil so we best receive the message of Easter. I was struck by the new perspective for Lent. It is not about depriving myself of something for the sake of discipline (though that is often a worthy cause). It is about having my heart in the best possible place, the humble place of truly being ready for Easter. I guess like the start of Lent, many years Easter has completely snuck up on me... often I am scurrying around trying to find Easter outfits for my family, rushing out to buy candy for the kids baskets and my heart is left thinking about the "American" version of Easter, not the life-changing reason of Easter. I want my focus to be less on the materialistic aspects of Easter and more on Christ's resurrection and His grace.
So this year is different. I am ready to participate in Lent by giving up some of my vices, and by being constantly reminded that the soil of my heart is being prepared.
"Sow for yourselves righteousness,
reap the fruit of unfailing love,
and break up your unplowed ground;
for it is time to seek the LORD,
until he comes and showers righteousness on you."
Are you participating in Lent? What are you giving up? What is your hope for this season of Lent?