February 12, 2013
Todd Johnson

Tomorrow is Ash Wednesday. Tomorrow we begin the season of Lent. How are we to think about this season?

That simple question has a long answer. (The answer is too involved for this blog post.) But may I offer a few quick thoughts?

1. No Christian must observe Lent. God is pleased with us because of Christ and his work. Observing Lent is not a legalistic ritual that binds us or makes us 'more pleasing to God'.

2. But observance can be useful. The above statement, "No Christian must observe..." can be applied to a multitude of practices. For example, no Christian must read his or her Bible daily. No Christian must be active in a small group Bible study. However, we all know that it is good to read your Bible daily or be in a small group. They help shape us and God uses them to cause growth. [I find it interesting that so many protestants protest that Lent is a 'man made thing' and should be avoided; while teach with very strong conviction thatl everyone should "make sure they have quiet times."]

3. We are free. Hope will talk as a church observing the Church calendar. As a result, you will hear us talking about Lent. Doing this is one way we express that we are part of the worldwide and universal church of Jesus. (See the first paragraph here and remeber that the western and eastern churches observe Lent and have been doing ti for decades.) But please remember, "For freedom Christ has set us free." (Galatians 5:1)  We in no way want to create a new law to which people must  bow. Bow only to Jesus. Some in our midst might be fasting over the next 40+days. Others might simply use this season as a special time of meditation and prayer, dwelling on their need for repentance and renewal as well as their need for Christ. Others might not do anything. At Hope, we do not prescribe how you observe Lent. Love Jesus - not Lent or the Church calendar.

But we invite you to consider Lent.  Specifically, let's celebrate Jesus and mourn the fact that we love wrong things and that our deep waywardness and rebellion made his cross necessary.

P.S. If you are new to the idea of observing Lent, you might find this helpful.

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