Tuesday, February 17, 2015
"Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ: Christians have always observed with great devotion the days of our Lord's passion and resurrection. It became the custom of the church to prepare for Easter by a season of penitence, fasting, and prayer. This season of forty days provided a time in which converts to the faith were prepared for baptism into the body of Christ. It is also the time when persons who had committed serious sins and had been separated from the community of faith were reconciled by penitence and forgiveness, and restored to the fellowship of the church. The whole congregation is thus reminded of the mercy and forgiveness proclaimed in the gospel of Jesus Christ and the need we all have to renew our baptismal faith. I invite you, in the name of the Lord, to observe a holy Lent, by self-examination, penitence, prayer, fasting, and almsgiving; and by reading and meditating on the Word of God."
While these words of invitation are normally heard on Ash Wednesday (which is tomorrow) or on the First Sunday of Lent (which is next Sunday), I offer them to you now as a way of sharing the Lenten journey with me through a series of daily Lenten reflections. Two of the spiritual disciplines to which the Invitation to Observe a Holy Lent invite us are reading the Word of God and prayer. This particular Lenten series will focus on the Luke material beginning at Luke 9:28 which is story of the mountain top transfiguration of Jesus and ending at the death of Christ on the cross. Each of the daily reflections will lift up an encounter Jesus had with someone on the road from Transfiguration to Calvary. Reading the Word along with me and praying over it might be one way to respond to the Invitation to Observe a Holy Lent.
Regardless of how each of us responds to the Lenten invitation, this season does afford us an important opportunity to reflect on what it meant for Jesus to walk the road that led to Calvary. It was a journey that ended with an unparalleled act of sacrifice for us. It ended with an expression of love that is beyond comprehension. There is much for us to consider as we make this journey with the Christ who bids us to follow Him, "by denying ourselves, taking up our cross daily, and following Him." (Luke 9:23)