by Clay Thompson
It’s quite entertaining to hear some of the responses given to the question, “What are you giving up for Lent?”
I hear: “I’m giving up chocolate,” or “I will eliminate soft drinks for 40 days!” Even better: “I’m giving up deodorant,” “work” and best of all, “church.”
But this isn’t a season of “giving up,” as if less sugar better prepares us for heaven.
Lent is a season of learning, reflection and repentance. The learning and reflection is centered upon the righteous life and sacrificial death of Jesus Christ, the son of God.
For many, the observance of Lent begins with Ash Wednesday, a service that calls us to come humbly before the Lord who alone has the authority to judge and to forgive.
As we draw near to the end of Lent, we enter Holy Week. The events remembered here are unique to the history of God redeeming man.
In this week, many remember Jesus’ washing of the disciples’ feet at Passover (Maundy Thursday), the death of Jesus upon the cross (Good Friday), the burial of Christ in the tomb (Holy Saturday), and the bodily Resurrection of Christ (Easter Sunday).
I believe there is a murmur against traditional expressions of Christianity.
And so I have become an advocate for freely observing the season of Lent. For in it, the church is called to humility, repentance and reconciliation.
We are quickly reminded of the tax collector in Luke 18, who upon hearing the righteous prayer of the Pharisee, bows his head, beats his chest and pleads, “be merciful to me, a sinner.”
It is with my soul bowed in such an honest position that I have savored most the sweetness of the gospel.
Clay Thompson is pastor of St. Jude’s Mission Anglican Church.