Start Lent with us at The Belfrey on Wednesday 1st March for our Ash Wednesday service at 7pm.
The Meaning of Lent and the Path to a Resurrected Life
Are you longing for the arrival of spring?
For the lengthening days to be filled with the light and warmth of the sun?
We are all familiar with the annual rhythm of the seasons, and together we now journey through the death of winter into the rising life of spring. This process is woven into our very creative existence, it finds its summit in the death and resurrection of Jesus, and it flows into our continued Christian experience.
The rhythm of death giving way to life. Jesus said, "Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit." (John 12 v 24) New life demands that we first must die, that we unite ourselves with the death of Christ because Christ united Himself with the life of man. In His life, Jesus became one with our pain, our suffering and our sorrow, He exposed man's need to die, and by dying, He saved us from it. He saved us from the selfish expectations that we saw rampant in the lives of His followers, He saved us from the pride-fullness of the Jews who stumbled over His lowliness, and He saved us from our denial of Him in life's toughest situations. In His union with the complete human experience, He gathered the sin of the world to Himself, bore its weight, and carried it to the deserved end of all creation. The grave. Lent is the remembrance of this journey 'Lent' is derived from a word that in many languages implies the number 'forty', inviting us to recall Jesus' forty days of fasting in the wilderness. Norman Tanner notes that too that Lent can carry with it a further meaning. He writes: "Lent comes from an early English word meaning to 'lengthen'. Lent comes at a time when the daytime is 'lengthening'… and so it is too a time when we can 'lengthen' spiritually, when we can stretch out and grow in Spirit." (you can see the rest of his article here). Our remembrance of Christ’s deathinvites us on a journey into the wilderness. So that our false expectations, our offended and prideful hearts, in their deprivation, fall to the ground like an autumn leaf, and die. Lengthening our hearts as we wait patiently under the warmth of his love to cultivate new life upon our bare branches. It is time to allow our hearts to be led by the Holy Spirit away from the world and into the purifying presence of Jesus Christ, to let His glorious life reveal the death that falsely lays claim to our hearts.
We are led through the wilderness into the promised land of eternity. We are lead to the cross so that we can be invited into life abundant.
Do you trust Him to lead you to the cross? Do you trust Him to resurrect you as you lay entombed by all the sin that afflicts you?
Lent begins on March 1st with Ash Wednesday Ashes are an expression of repentance. They are imposed upon our foreheads in the form of a cross to symbolically carry with them the weight of all that the death of Christ should mean to us. And as the words of imposition are spoken over us 'dust you are, and to dust you will return' we are marked with death, reminded of our mortality and our desperate need for the saving grace of He who is immortal.
Lent leads us to the finality of death, but not to end there. For this death also marked the beginning of new life.
Christ's journey did not end with death but instead blossomed into an eternal hope wrought by the events of the most blessed day that followed shortly after. For on that morning, as the sun arose, the disciples ran. And we, unshackled by the redemption of our past and with open hearts can run into the joyful celebration of forever, receiving the gift of eternal life.
Lent is a season to allow the Spirit to widen your heart and make room for the warmth and light of Christ. It is a season to fast from the crumbs of this world and to feast upon the bread of life. It is a season to receive Jesus in prayer and to give Jesus to the lost and broken in the world around you.
It is a season of appreciating our union with His death. Because, as the Apostle Paul says, "if we have been united with Him in a death like His, we shall certainly be united with him in a resurrection like His."
Ash Wednesday marks the start of lent. Start Lent with us at The Belfrey on Wednesday 1st March for our Ash Wednesday service at 7pm
Blog written by Toby Everett Toby loves Jesus, the Church and snowy mountainsides. He is in training for church ministry, has spent 3 years living in Canada and is a Belfrey small group leader in the 18-30's work at The Belfrey.