Albright United Methodist Church
Welcome to Lent
With Ash Wednesday being observed on the sixth of this month, I want to be the first to say welcome to Lent. No kidding. I say "no kidding" because not everyone thinks of Lent as a welcome experience. This is probably because for years the focus of Lent was on self-denial, on "giving something up." I know a man who normally drinks five to six cups of coffee a day. But each year he gives up coffee for the days of Lent. The first few days of Lent are miserable for him as he goes through caffeine withdrawal. Why would he say welcome to Lent?
He does though because his devotion to God is real, and for him, giving up coffee helps him examine his commitment to Christ and meditate on the suffering and death of his Lord.
Acts of self-denial are appropriate when the sacrifice connects with Christian commitment. But there is another view of Lent: a time to prepare to celebrate the Resurrection. When we prepare to celebrate something we often do housekeeping chores. If we are going to have a party at our house, we first spend some time cleaning the house. We lay in a supply of refreshments. We decorate. And when all is ready and the guests arrive, we celebrate. Preparing is never quite as much fun as celebrating, but it takes the preparation to make the celebration possible.
Lent is like that - a time for spiritual housecleaning, a time to dust off our faith, shine up our commitment, lay in a supply of thanks and decorate our lives with the joy of the Christian life. Then when Easter comes we know in our hearts what the celebrating is all about.