Here we are in the first few days of Lent. I would hazard a guess that for the majority of people this means little or absolutely nothing. The closest understanding of this religious season is the familiar presence of the Easter Bunny in the stores. For most people, there is little or no religious aspect of these days. Traditionally, Lent has been a solemn time of fasting, remembering and reflection. In our busy world, to set aside forty days for anything is almost impossible to achieve.
I have to admit that I am not good at the whole obstinance part of Lent. It’s not that I mind giving something up for Lent, it ‘s more that I can never remember to follow through on it. Among some of our brothers and sisters, Lent is a very solemn occasion where no flowers are permitted in the sanctuary, the music is more solemn and as few adornments as possible are used in the church and service. For others, there is not such an emphasis, but the sense of reflection and sacrifice are understood.
At one time or another, most of us have had to come to terms with death. The death of a close friend, a family member or even a co-worker or acquaintance. When their death is a sudden one we find ourselves at a loss as to how to cope with, or how to understand what has happened. When it has been a longer journey, we find ourselves preparing for the final moments before death. Either way, it is a difficult time for everyone.
Little did the disciples realize what lay ahead for them as they prepared for the Passover. Jesus’ time in the wilderness was a time of preparation, reflection and meditation for him. When he left that behind, his concern was to prepare his friends for what they would have to face after his death. As was the case, no one wanted to listen to him talk about anything that was disturbing or uncomfortable. In the end they would appreciate the efforts that Jesus went to in preparing them for his death.
As we journey through Lent, it is valuable for us to reflect upon our lives and to appreciate just how much we have to be thankful for, and how important life relationships are to us. During the forty days of Lent, whether or not we fast or spend time in seclusion, we need to remember that life around us carries on and our greatest outreach is our interaction with others. I appreciate the words of J.T. Petee who wrote; “pray for peace and grace and spiritual food, for wisdom and guidance, for all these are good, but don’t forget the potatoes.”