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Lenten Reflections

This year, our worship program has been observing Lent together. To be honest, this is the first time in several years that I have observed the whole season of Lent. For those who may not be familiar with Lent, it is the period of 40 days (not counting Sundays) from Ash Wednesday to Holy Saturday, with Easter being the end of the Lenten period. It is a time of somberness, reflection, fasting, and preparation for the celebration of Easter. It serves to prolong the Easter season, and helps to setup Holy Week, which non-liturgical Christians often fast-forward through. For many who don’t observe the church calendar (or Holy Week), we often jump from Palm Sunday to Easter, ignoring Maundy Thursday, when Jesus observed communion with His disciples, prayed in the garden, and was betrayed by Judas. We often neglect Good Friday when Christ was tried in a mock trial, beaten and crucified. Without observing His death, we can’t truly celebrate the full impact of His resurrection. Without death, there is no resurrection. Without sacrifice, there is no atonement. Col. 1:22 says “yet He has now reconciled you in His fleshly body through death, in order to present you before Him holy and blameless and beyond reproach.”

For me, Lent this year has been a time of reflection and self-sacrifice. We have been suggesting the use of the Lent Project as a devotional source, and many of those devotionals have been very meaningful to me. Probably the theme that has been most meaningful to me is the call to repentance. I don’t believe that we take the holiness of God seriously enough. Observing Lent has made me anticipate the celebration of all of Holy Week, particularly the celebration of Easter.

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead. 1st Peter 1:3

4 comments to Lenten Reflections

  • Mitchell McIntyre

    This is something that is rare in today’s church culture but it is coming back. We rarely anticipate the coming of a season like Easter and Christmas. One of my fears is that we get to a point were someone shows up on Easter and goes “its Easter today? wow who knew?”. Never underestimate the value of preparing for seasons like Christmas and Easter because it will grow your faith in ways you wont even see until you do it. The past 3 Christmases I have been putting this anticipation and preparation into practice. Yes I know that Jesus was probably not actually born on Christmas but this practice is still edifying. In the past three years of doing this I have found that my heart actually experiences longing and desperation for a savior which makes the realization of his coming all the more glorious. Its not about increasing emotion (though I dare say its impossible to have too much anticipation and excitement at the coming of a savior) its about teaching your own heart to see these days as the incredible and world-changing things that they are. I’m glad to see more of our church culture making an effort!

  • Melissa Martin

    Observing Lent this year was helpful for me as well. In my reflection, I realized how self-centered our culture is (myself included), and how this self-centeredness has permeated the local church. Observing Lent (or Advent, as Mitchell mentioned) helps us as Christians to aim our lives in a God-ward direction instead of centering on the self. I have noticed that modern evangelicals steer clear of observing Lent because it has been seen as legalistic and void of purpose in the past. I would argue, however, that the church today too often misses the important element of reverence in worship because we enjoy focusing on God’s immanence more than His transcendence. Observing Lent helped me to take my focus off of myself and view God and His holiness with reverence.

  • Micah Freire

    “Without death, there is no resurrection.” Dr. O, the weight of our sin killed Christ, but it was not enough to keep him in the grave! This truth is sobering, wonderful, and terrifying all at the same time. It is sobering because it forces us to realize the love Christ had for us while we were yet sinners. It makes his unjust death all the more painful, and forces us to acknowledge the weight of our sin. It is wonderful because in his death and resurrection we find everlasting life. His death would have meant nothing if he was not resurrected, but he could not have resurrected unless he had been first put to death. It is terrifying because the Lord’s immense power is shown through it all. Sometimes the terms “conquered death” are heard frequently in Christian circles. However, Christ did not merely conquer death; throughout his life, he showed that he has the power to control death. The loss of life is not an obstacle to our God. Instead, it is a curse put on all of humanity that the Lord sometimes chooses not to observe. I too have been called to a state of repentance, not only because I fear God, but because it allows me to grow closer to him and more like his son Jesus Christ. It glorifies our Father to repent, and that is enough for me, even though it is a time of deep contemplation on the gravity of sin and the love of the Savior.

  • Karina Brady

    Observing Lent as a part of Cedarville’s worship program was an extremely valuable experience for me. I had never observed Lent before, but after my experience, I know that I will continue to observe it in different ways. I know that there are a lot of sacrifices we can make during the Lent season: food, social media, Netflix, and the list goes on. I chose to give up social media and it was a refreshing experience. I found that I could devote my full attention to my Bible reading and devotions. I didn’t feel the urge to check my notifications or check my phone at all, really. Without distraction, I felt more engaged during my classes and more involved in my relationships. I am excited to continue this habit as I transition into this summer and next school year.