Preparing our Hearts for Easter
Lent, popularly understood as a season of joyless custom and duty, carries almost too much religious baggage for some people. How then do we keep the gospel front and center in this season of shadows? The cross keeps our gospel focus clear. Lent is a season to journey with Jesus in his passion, to survey the cross, taking the measure of Christ’s love in his suffering and death.
Beginning on Ash Wednesday, Lent is the 40-day season leading up to Easter. (If you count all the days, there are more than 40, but the Sundays are not counted as part of Lent, as they are resurrection celebrations held throughout the season.) It begins with the stark reminder that “from dust you have come and to dust you will return” and leads toward Jesus’ final week, marked by Palm Sunday and stopping short of the resurrection celebration of Easter morning. Ashes are a good emblem of Lent, a picture of our own mortality and spiritual condition, a sign of Lent’s penitent spirit, and yet a hint of the hope of renewal.
The spare and sober nature of Lent is healthy for the heart and true to the gospel, scrubbing away frothy spirituality by calling us to say no to ourselves in order to experience a greater yes in Jesus. It helps to imprint the form of the cross in our lives, recognizing that the news of the risen Lord Jesus is not good without the way of the cross. Lent prepares us to experience the reality of resurrection joy only by first recognizing the depth of our sin that pinned Christ to the cross.
- from Seeking God’s Face by Philip F. Reinders
We encourage you to participate with Redeemer and Hope for San Diego in the 40 Days of Service initiative.
The below resources may also serve to both sober and soften your heart in this season of Lent: