Today is Ash Wednesday and marks the first day of Lent. Growing up Southern Baptist, I never heard any mention of “Lent.” However, this marks the third year I’ve been intentional during this “40 Days” time. Intentional for me in that I focus my mind and heart on why we as Christians celebrate this time of year. For those of you like me, who did not grow up in a church that formally practiced this tradition, here is a definition of Lent:
Lent is a time when many Christians prepare for Holy Week/Easter by observing a period of fasting, repentance, moderation and spiritual discipline. The purpose is to set aside time for reflection on Jesus Christ - His suffering and His sacrifice, His life, death, burial and resurrection. Lent runs from Ash Wednesday to Holy Saturday and so includes 40 weekdays.
We may not have observed Lent, but for over 20 years my church (under the direction of my wonderful husband Gary) presented “The Warner Robins Passion Play” for our community. Through music, worship, and drama, we depicted the life of Jesus, His crucifixion and resurrection. Some of the most wonderful times as a worship ministry have been during this Holy Season. I love this time of year – everything shouts NEW LIFE!
I want to share the devotionals that I have used during the 40 days of Lent. The first one is free and is from Ann Voskamp’s blog, “A Holy Experience.” Click here on “The Trail to the Tree.” It is a beautiful devotional. This is how Ann describes Lent: “It’s the preparing the heart for Easter. Like going with Jesus into the wilderness for forty days, that we might come face to ugly face with our enemy. Our sacrificing that we might become more like Christ in His sacrifice.”
Another one is a book entitled “Reliving the Passion“ by Walter Wangerin, Jr. It is a 40 day devotional from the New Testament gospel of Mark. It’s poetic and dramatic and I loved every page.
This year I am reading a book entitled “Draw the Circle,“ by Mark Batterson. It is a 40 day prayer challenge that his church (National Community Church) in Washington, DC has used during Lent.
Christ on the road to Calvary.
Tried by sinful men, torn and beaten then
nailed to a cross of wood.
This the power of the cross
Christ became sin for us!
Took the blame, bore the wrath
we stand forgiven at the cross.