It’s Ash Wednesday, the beginning of Lent 2020!
Lent is a season of forty days, not counting Sundays, which begins on Ash Wednesday and ends on Holy Saturday. Lent comes from the word lencten, which means “spring.” The forty days represents the time Jesus spent in the wilderness, enduring the temptation of Satan and preparing to begin his ministry.
Lent is a time of repentance, fasting and preparation for the coming of what most religions call Easter, but we know and celebrate the Resurrection of our Savior and call this Holy Day Resurrection Sunday. It is a time of self-examination and reflection. In the early church, Lent was a time to prepare new converts for baptism. Just as we at Victory Christian Assembly have done. We will baptism our prepared baptism candidates on Good Friday.
Today, Christians focus on their relationship with God, often choosing to give up something or to volunteer and give of themselves for others.
During Lent many people sacrifice things like chocolate, social media, parties…you know, things they enjoy doing.
Speaking of sacrifice, in February 2019 Mark and I were invited to a military Distinguished Cross ceremony. This is an awarded to a soldier posthumously. The sacrifice the young soldier made was heroic and saved his platoon and allowed the whole battalion to succeed. The Lieutenant General said that his actions set him apart from his comrades.
These types of sacrifice and the 9 or 10 religious associated holidays included in the lent season with all it’s tradition and elaborate displays of sacrifice are intriguing, with churches around the world encouraging their congregations to fast and make sacrifices during the season. While our temporary sacrifices help to commemorate or mark this season, and war heroes sacrifice for their countries, it is only the ultimate sacrifice that Jesus made that makes eternal differences in the lives of men and women. It is this one sacrifice that makes our relationship and direct access to God possible.
Soon we will celebrate Palm Sunday, which is one of — the moveable feasts or holidays during this religious season that is based on the cycles of the moon. Palm Sunday commemorates the triumphant entry of Jesus into Jerusalem amid cries of Hosanna as people lined His path with palm branches;
Matthew 21:8-11 (KJV)
And a very great multitude spread their garments in the way; others cut down branches from the trees, and strawed them in the way. And the multitudes that went before, and that followed, cried, saying, Hosanna to the Son of David: Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord; Hosanna in the highest. And when he was come into Jerusalem, all the city was moved, saying, Who is this? And the multitude said, This is Jesus the prophet of Nazareth of Galilee.
Within that same week they were crying crucify Him. Popular opinion is something else! It changes often just like the wind; but the sacrifice Jesus made, the blood He shed will never loose it’s power.
Most religions include communion in their Lent celebrations. And Jesus reminded us of this in this scripture:
Whenever we eat this bread and drink this cup, we are retelling the story, proclaiming our Lord’s death until he comes. 1 Corinthians 11:26 (Passion Translation NT)
This is why the religious part of this relationship during Lenten season has become so special to me; it keeps me reminded of the ultimate sacrifice of my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Back in the day we would sing the old dirge ‘lest I forget Gethsemane, lest I forget thine agony; lest I forget your love for me, lead me to Calvary.’ WE WILL NEVER FORGET.