It’s interesting how the year looks from when Lent begins and how Easter passes. Our New England winter was quite the metaphor moving from a cold, dark snowy winter, to an even colder, darker, snowier one that showed no signs of ending. Then … finally (some) warmth and light.
Every Lent, every Advent, everything, should be different in some way from one year to another. In my mind if one can be copy and pasted to another, one probably didn’t gain much from it. It should be different because despite how monotonous and tiresome things might feel, in actuality, life is different.
In light of that, my Lenten experience was marked by a number of things:
– First the spiritual – the movie Frozen ; I know, I know, but our entire family unabashedly loved it. Hearing our two year old singing, “Let it Go” every morning will always bring a smile to my face.
– A more spiritual highlight has been observing our boys understand more and more of the Easter story. We have been intentional about not being overly graphic and this year we focused on how Jesus loved us by giving life to all those who believe in him (substitutionary atonement can wait til next year).
– Lent was filled with many wonderful moments as well. Two dear friends of mine had children born in the same week. Both families each have their own stories – both wonderful and incredible and I can’t be happier for them.
– If I can go back to another movie, this Lent was also influenced by the movie Noah and the more I think about it, the more I like it. In addition to what I wrote about already here, here, here and here, I cannot help but be drawn to the relationship of God’s justice and mercy. Felt very appropriate to consider such things in the weeks prior to Easter.
– This season was also punctuated by certain choices of self-denial and by certain decisions of denial made for me. Nothing scandalous, nothing crazy, just a few things that didn’t go the way I had hoped for and a few things I didn’t see coming. It was/is a season marked by prayer, uncertainty, stretching, and confidence – hopefully one that was Spirit-led. This is always the case of life to some degree but with Lent in the backdrop, I suppose it forced me to think about such things from a different angle.
– I did find myself thinking a lot about tragedy. In previous posts, I thought a lot about the missing Malaysia Airlines 370 Flight. Again, this is life but against eh backdrop of Lent, there was a different perspective. I leave Lent reminded that though tragedy exists, God is not only near but the solution of Jesus is His answer. How doe God sit back and watch this we often wonder? Well He doesn’t. Evil, death, and sin are answered by the death and resurrection of Jesus.
– Our Reading Circle on Pursuing Justice by Ken Wytsma. I’m often concerned by the just talking about justice and not doing justice and simultaneously aware that you cannot do justice and not talk about it. What I’m discovering is the more you talk about it, the more you discover things being done in the name of justice. Still, a long way to go for the Church but I find great encouragement in what I see happening.
– Then there was Holy Week. I have to say, I love our church does it. A lot of thought was given to this week and it really came through Easter, Palm Sunday and I really liked our “Sacred Spaces.”
– I was honored to give the Good Friday message in Lexington. I joked with one of our other pastors that the trouble with having a month to work on a message is that you end up with seven of them. First line of it was, “If I had it my way, I’d prefer we go from Palm Sunday to Easter Sunday and skip all this Good Friday crucifixion stuff.” Good Friday has always been a tough thing to get and it was again this year but it was a powerful experience to reflect and preach on the death of Jesus and the significance of the cross.
As I look back on Lent this year, I see quite a lot of ground was lived and covered and that feels good. I hope the cross and life of Jesus informed me, may it continue to and may you also feel the love and grace of our Lord too.
Hope you had a great Lent and a beautiful Easter too – Thanks for reading.