It’s the first Sunday in Lent, a time that through the years Christians have used as a period of particular devotion as we prepare to remember and celebrate Jesus’ death and resurrection. I wonder what Lent has been for you in the past and what it will be for you this year?
As I was preparing for our Ash Wednesday service this week, I saw a statement written by a friend about Lent: “Lent is a time-bound way of ‘stepping into’ who I want to be – a person made in the image of God, who participates in a world as the ‘kingdom come’.”
Lent is an opportunity to step into remembering who and whose we are, and into participating in the world as the people God calls us to be. We have the opportunity to step into understanding ourselves and embracing more fully our identity as people made in the image of God, to live as those who God has made, delights in, loves, has forgiven and redeemed. We can step into being people who participate in a world as the ‘kingdom come’, who are on about bringing life in our world, participating in helping this world be more Kingdom-like.
During this defined period of Lent, we might specifically take on some practices that help us in this journey as we work to co-operate with God in what He is doing in our lives. But we also know that we can’t do it by ourselves. We need God to be at work in us. And the good news is that He longs to do that.
We want to always be focused on God, drawing closer to Him and living as the people He would have us be. But a time period and seasons can help us in that. This period leading up to Easter is a prescribed time when we can focus on drawing near to God and on allowing Him to remove the things that come between us and Him. It’s a period when we can prepare ourselves to remember with gratitude and celebration His death and resurrection.
How is He inviting you to co-operate with Him in that journey over the coming weeks? How is He inviting you to align yourself with Him, the One who is the Way, the Truth and the Life? What does it look like for you to put God at the centre over these weeks?
While the specifics of our individual journeys will be different, we will encounter the challenge of areas in our lives which are not in line with the truth about God, ourselves and the world. These are opportunities to repent and believe the good news and to engage with the world as He calls us to.