What images come to mind when you think of Lent? For many of us, this word is associated with minor-key hymns, “giving up something”, and a generally somber tone in church – a kind of ecclesiastical mid-winter that reflects the climate this time of year.
In recent time, I have come to see Lent in a new way – a positive season of new life and growth in Christ. In particular, the image of Lent as our annual “Journey to Easter” has given me with a fresh perspective on this time in the church year. I find many parallels with the image of “journey” as we begin this holy season.
A journey is an adventure – a chance to break away from our usual daily schedules and to experience life in a new way. Getting away from our routines and focusing on a new goal can bring renewal and a fresh perspective on things. In order to start a journey, we need to make certain preparations:
- Dress appropriately and carry the essentials with us, without excess baggage to weigh us down
- Food and drink to meet our daily need
- Times and places of rest and sleep
- A map or GPS system to guide us
- Companions to share the venture with us
- A destination that we are seeking to find
- An openness to new experiences, since the journey itself is as important as the destination
All of these aspects of taking a journey resonate with us as we begin the practice of Lent.
This is a season when seek to have a more intentional walk with Jesus as we follow Him in our daily lives. We discard the “excess baggage” of wrong attitudes and practices that weigh us down spiritually and impede our Christian walk. We need spiritual food and drink that feeds and sustains us – joining together in worship to hear God’s word and to receive Holy Communion, as well as praying and reading the Bible and other devotional materials that nurture our faith life. We may need to adjust our daily schedules to take better care of ourselves. We need companions (literally, “those with whom we share bread”) to make the journey more rewarding. We need a clear sense that our destination is Holy Week and Easter, and to have a plan to get ourselves there. And of course, the journey of living out our daily lives as Christians is as important as the destination we seek.
My hope is that you will find this Lent to be a positive time of renewed faith and connection with our Lord Jesus Christ and with the faith community of St. Alban’s. Please avail yourself of the means of God’s grace as we journey together to the Cross and the Resurrection. If you would like to discuss any matters of faith with me, I would be happy to do this. Welcome to this wonderful journey of Lent!
Rev. John Peters, rector