March 4th, 2014
“Nothing, how little so ever it be, if it is suffered for God’s sake, can pass without merit in the sight of God.”
~Thomas a Kempis
Lent is a traditional fast that has been practiced by Christian groups for many centuries. The purpose of Lent is to prepare oneself for the celebration of resurrection. Through fasting, lamenting and prayer, one experiences a small sense of Jesus own journey toward death.
Jesus said “blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.” In a world full of constant movement, limitless choice and the glorification of youth, the practice of Lent allows us to meditate on our limits. With a taste of impending death, we long even more for resurrection.
Lent is one of the oldest known celebrations of the church, first mentioned in the second century by an early Church Father named Ireneus. Although it’s practice has varied, it has always been focused on providing an opportunity for self-examination and repentance in preparation for Easter. Initially the practice was a strict fast of 40 days. Over the centuries it was relaxed to specific dietary restrictions. In recent decades, the practice has been limited to giving up something specific.
Practices to consider
- Purposefully study scripture. Read the Lent for Everyone devotional alongside others from the aMS community.
- Participate in an Ash Wednesday Service.
- Practice a fast by giving up something that will hurt. This could be an unnecessary habit like coffee or chocolate, or a few meals a week.
- Set aside time every day to meditate and reflect. Ask God to make you aware of how short life is, and how to better take advantage of it.
Why does Austin Mustard Seed Recognize Lent?
Like many Church practices, Lent is not directly commanded in scripture. However, Austin Mustard Seed believes it is a valuable opportunity for spiritual growth.
We observe the Christian calendar because we recognize that our daily lives need to be organized by more than what our jobs or popular culture enforces. We need to set aside days and weeks to experience the reality of life in God’s kingdom. Lent is a useful tool for learning how to do that.
While everyone will experience this season differently, we hope that it will be transformative for everyone.