Lent – we’ll most of us remember some school French – lent meaning slow. And slow in our fast-paced, do it now because I’m worth it, road age, bustling, squeeze everything in ‘til you drop, kids to ballet, cubs, taekwondo, piano then swimming, goal and grade obsessed times – slow is going against the flow. Taking the path less travelled.
And that’s the beating heart of Lent. Not giving something up as an end in itself: more a means to shift the focus so as to enable the experience of going against the flow, taking a path less travelled. As Christians, this is joining God in re-creating the world as his Kingdom.
That act of joining with God involves recognising how far the world is from the way God intends it to be; and recognising the ‘evils that come from inside and make a man unclean.’ (Mark 7.23). Hence the characteristic focus of Lent on self-examination, penitence, self-denial and study.
We at Christ Church will start with an Ash Wednesday Service on March 6th at 6pm. From the Middle Ages onward it has been a custom to begin Lent by having the sign of the cross marked on one’s forehead in ash as a sign of penitence.
Again this focus—on self-examination, penitence, self-denial, study—is not an end in itself but a means. The joining God in re-creating the world involves God’s grace re-creating ourselves. Lent becomes intentional as Christians take time to try and live God’s way, the way that Jesus showed us.
Lent’s ‘path less travelled’ brings us to Good Friday. Christ’s words on the cross, “It is finished.” (John 19.30) signal the Good News that the old order is to give way to the new order. The re-creation of the world has started. Easter Sunday affirms the victory of God’s love, bringing life and joy to the world.
Does ‘going against the flow’, ‘taking the path less travelled’ sound attractive? Feel free to join us for any of our Easter services. Or to walk our Lent labyrinth on Sundays from noon until 1pm in Church from March 10th to April 7th.
Blessings in Christ,