New Series and Lent
If you could have dinner with one person, dead or alive, who would it be and why? It is always a privilege to be able to sit down with someone over a meal and glean from them, especially if they are a reputable person. What if you could have dinner with Jesus? Over the next 6 weeks we are going to do just that. On the last night of Jesus’ life, he had dinner with his disciples to prepare them for what he was about to do. All the gospel writers record this event, but John’s gospel dedicates 5 chapters to the evening meal and the conversations that were had. We are going to dive into these chapters and allow Jesus to prepare us in a new and fresh way for what his life, death, and resurrection truly mean. I trust that this series will be life changing as we feast on the words of Jesus together with open hearts.
As we embark on this series, I also want to invite you to participate in the season of lent however you feel comfortable. Lent is a unique time in the Christian calendar where believers down through the ages and all around the world have prepared themselves for the celebration of Christ’s resurrection. It begins every year 6 weeks before Easter Sunday, and this year it starts on Wednesday, March 6th.
How do I observe lent?
Traditionally lent has been a time of fasting or abstinence. Some people give up a specific food or drink. Others give up other things like social media or TV. The point of abstaining from something is not to go through a religious exercise (this is entirely voluntary) but to make room in our hearts and our minds for more of Jesus. Jesus himself went on a 40 day fast in the desert before he started his public ministry. While in the desert he was tempted by the Devil to turn rocks into bread. He responded by saying: “It is written, “‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.’” (Mattthew 4:4). This summarizes the purpose of lent very well. We are much more than our desires and our cravings. To practice abstinence in any form is to give our soul room to reach out to what it needs more than food and entertainment–communion with God.
Because lent is not only about abstaining, many people add something to their lives as well, especially a spiritual discipline or practice that will help them connect more with God. This could mean doing something unique each day to reflect on the cross and resurrection. This is a good time to begin or pick back up a daily quiet time of scripture reading and prayer. For some, selecting a bible reading plan focused on the cross and resurrection has been helpful (You Version is a great app to do this through: https://www.bible.com/search/plans?q=lent) I would also encourage families to think about a regular devotional that they may have during this time.
More than anything, these 40 days leading up to Easter are a significant time to prepare our hearts for more of Jesus and more of his resurrection power in our lives and in our world. I look forward to this journey that we are going to be on together as a church family.