Psalm 51:1-2, 10-11 Have mercy on me, O God, according to your steadfast love; according to your abundant mercy blot out my transgressions. 2 Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin. 10 Create in me a clean heart, O God, and put a new and right spirit within me. 11 Do not cast me away from your presence, and do not take your holy spirit from me.
There are events in our lives that we prepare to undertake. Some of the events are very detailed and need extensive planning while others are not as complicated. Yet almost all events require some amount of preparation.
Almost every year Tillie and I plan an open house on New Year’s Day. We plan how things will be arranged and we plan what we want to have for refreshments. We send out open invitations, we try to guesstimate how many will be there, and start prepping what food we can the day before so we can spend time with our guests. On the day of the open house we anxiously await the first ring of the doorbell and the first guest to arrive.
An event this year that is taking on a lot of planning is our trip to Europe. To celebrate our 20th wedding anniversary we decided to do a nine day Baltic cruise. So far we have planned the dates, flights, hotels, and modes of transportation however there is much more that needs to be planned. Things like excursions on the cruise and places we want to see before and after the cruise.
Lent is also a time of preparation. It is a time we prepare for Easter although for some Lent becomes a ritual of giving up something material or taking something up to improve your life. Lent is more than a season of giving something material up such as chocolate, diet coke, or television. It is more than a season of taking something up like exercise or finding way to unwind for the stresses of life. For example one Lenten season I decided not to go in and out of the house through the garage door using only the front door thus saving energy.
While all of these are good things in and of themselves, Lent is a season of preparation for Easter. It is a time of reflection and growing deeper in our spiritual relationship with God. When we look at our Lenten discipline not in terms of works or means of obtaining God’s favor we find our relationship with God, our neighbors, and ourselves deepen spiritually. It prepares us spiritually for the moment of Easter when we realize the greatness of God’s love for us and desire for us to be in that relationship with Him where He is the center of our lives.
As we approach Lent which begins on Ash Wednesday we are invited to enter into the “observance of a holy Lent, by self- examination and repentance; by prayer, fasting and self-denial; and the reading and meditating on God’s holy Word…” (BCP 265). Let us remember the reason for Lent is to establish, maintain, repair, and transform our relationship with God.
I pray your Lent is one of renewal and strengthening of your faith and above all in your relationship with God.