The season of Lent begins next week. Lent is a 40 day period (not counting Sundays) leading up to Easter. If you’re not familiar with Lent, you are probably familiar with Mardi Gras, Fat Tuesday or Shrove Tuesday. This is the day before Ash Wednesday, the beginning of Lent, a time of fasting, repentance and preparation for Easter.
The 40 days of Lent represents Jesus’s time spent in the wilderness after his baptism by John. In both Matthew 4 and Luke 4, the scriptures describe Jesus being tempted by Satan those 40 days.
I don’t remember being introduced to the concept of Lent until I was in high school or college. And then, it was only in the conversation of “what are you giving up for Lent?” It was never in the context of Jesus’s 40 days in the wilderness or as a preparation for the Easter event, Jesus’s death and resurrection for me.
As I ponder Jesus’s time in the wilderness and his preparation for ministry, I wonder what happened in the liminal space (the in-between) not mentioned in the scriptures. The liminal space, I imagine, would be taken up in prayer, examination, reflection, wonderment and joy. Can you imagine Jesus conversing with his father while staring at the stars? Can you imagine the joy in watching the animals cavort, the birds sing and in the aromas of nature? Can you also imagine hearing and feeling the grumbling tummy? Can you imagine the rocks under your knees while kneeling in prayer? Can you feel your muscles shake as they become weaker? In all of Jesus’s physical weaknesses, his faith was strong.
Here are some things I’m pondering leading up to Lent:
· Have I spent time in scripture?
· Have I reflected over the scripture in order to get a sense of what it says and what it means for me and others?
· Should I fast? What is the purpose of fasting?
· Am I so booked up with wordly things that I’ve not made time for spiritual things?
· What are the things I need forgiveness from?
· How shall I prepare for Easter? Can I de-clutter my home, calendar, emails, and free up time for studying, learning, praying and being with God?
What will you do during the 40 days of Lent to put the focus on God?