Lenten Thoughts of a Lowly Baptist*
So what have you given up for Lent? I do hope you’ve not given up on the idea of giving things up for Lent… have you?
The season of Lent, of course, leads to and prepares us for Easter and the most momentous events in the history of humankind. So it is right, I think, that we should prepare in some way – but how?
I think that we should start by spending time reflecting on what it is that Easter means to us. If we fail to do this, Easter can easily become trivial to us and, as in our increasingly secular society, the whole thing can be reduced to a season of indulgence – Easter eggs and Easter bunnies. But to paraphrase Jessie J, it’s not about the bunny, and you can see me hammer (or mallet) that point home here.
What we think about God (our theology) shapes our relationship with Him (our spirituality) – not because what we think about God changes God, but because it changes us. If I think of Easter as a fairytale or a Christian twist on a pagan festival, it is hardly going to change me very much, but that’s not what I think about Easter – and what I think about Easter changes me every time I take the time to reflect on it. So, what do I think Easter is about? Well, you can click the link above and listen to the talk, but here’s the short version. I think Easter is about God’s love for us, and how that played out in the most amazing and sacrificial way. Simply, God intervened to restore the possibility of our living in a relationship of love with Him forever – and not just with Him but with all those who believe in Him. Think about that a bit.
I’ve said before that the acid test of love is sacrifice. God’s sacrifice involved the loss of His only Son. It involved Jesus suffering through the pain of human life and the most excruciating death. It involved giving up (that is, sacrificing) the right (which God absolutely has) to punish us for our sinfulness and disobedience, and instead meeting the demands of justice Himself.
To sacrifice means to give something up, right? So isn’t it right to acknowledge, in some small way, the enormous sacrifice of God for us? What little sacrifice can we make that will just give us a little taste, a little reminder, of God’s love for us, played out through His great sacrifice?
Have a think. What will you give up? Maybe one of the best things to give up is a little of your time to read again the Easter story, and to ponder these things in your heart.
With love and blessings.
* Blog title is borrowed from a favourite poem, ‘Lenten Thoughts of a High Anglican’ (John Betjeman)
Simon Lace, 23/02/2023