There will be no “Alleluias” heard during the upcoming season of Lent. The color violet conveys the somber mood. The suffering and death of Jesus are the journey we re-live. Lent opens with a call to repentance on Ash Weds. (March 6th this year). It concludes in a mood of solemn wonder as we walk with Jesus through Holy Week, when on Good Friday we ponder the cross and on Great Sabbath, we live with the full tomb now holding Jesus’ body, with no heartbeat, no breath.
Awe. Wonder. Lent invites us to ponder the depth of His suffering love for us. Yet, even more, we see God’s ability to transform our human sin and violence into life and salvation! Lent gives us the opportunity to get in touch with our human sinfulness but, more importantly, with God’s righteousness. For the aim of Lent is to appropriate God’s cure for what ails us.
Originally a season to prepare converts for baptism, it has since 325 AD (the Council of Nicea) been a period of penitence for the whole church. It has been observed as a season to fast, from alleluias and chocolate, or whatever you personally find most difficult to do without. In the years we have lived, it can also be a time to do something extra, to keep us close to Jesus. So we take more time to pray, study the Bible, and stay close to Jesus.
Turning and Returning are a vital part of Lent. As winter is turns into spring, the Lenten experience calls for another kind of turning which we call repentance, reconciliation, renewal. These words describe a turning of our hearts to something or, better yet, to Someone. It is in the turning and returning that we are convicted, converted and consecrated, as God works his miracle of transforming sinners into saints.