This year, for the season of Lent, we will be doing a few new things to help us grow. Lent is a time to intentionally seek God and reflect on the ways in which we may have strayed from life as God intended. It is a time that we can re-focus on what it means to follow Christ.
The Lenten journey is long and arduous but worth every bit of struggle. Lent originated as a fast for people who were preparing for baptism. Often, they had just spent 3 years learning about the Christian tradition. They learned how to pray, the stories of the Bible, how to live, and so much more. During the final 40 days before their baptism, the official marker of their entrance into this new way of life, they would fast and reflect on the ways in which their lives reflected (or didn’t) the way of Jesus Christ. Then, they would be baptized on Resurrection Sunday and truly experience new life.
They would spend time repenting for the ways they had strayed from The Way. Repentance is certainly a central theme in Lent. But they did not repent just for the sake of repenting. They repented because it was a part of the larger process of seeking God. These forty days of reflection showed their devotion to Christ and the new life he offered. They reflected upon the identities they are given by God at their birth and reaffirmed at baptism: beloved children. They were seeking a God of grace who promised new beginnings.
It is easy in our world, just as it was in theirs, to get sidetracked and distracted from seeking God. We can easily get caught up in our identities given to us by the world. What would it look like for you to become enveloped by the identity given to you by God? What would it look like for you to seek a new beginning with God on this journey? What do you need to do so that you can experience new life on Resurrection Sunday?
Here at FBC, there are multiple ways to engage with Lent this year. We will be focusing on being transformed by gratitude. We will provide a short thought for each day in a weekly format that will get you thinking about the themes of Lent and gratitude. You also have the opportunity to join with the entire congregation in tracking your gratitude. Each Sunday, you will have the opportunity to publicly repent for complaining and commit yourself to another week of transformational gratitude. On Easter Sunday, we invite you bring your gratitude notebooks, placing them on the altar as a visible image of the invisible transformation within each congregant and the community as a whole.
-Rev. Katie Callaway