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Lent 2010

17 Feb

Today is the eve of Ash Wednesday (some traditions call it Shrove Tuesday). It is the day before Lent begins. It is the final day of preparation for a 40-day season of prayer and fasting that will lead up to Resurrection Sunday, the ultimate day of Christian celebration. This will be my third year practicing Lent. It has become a helpful practice for me. It has given me a systematic way to be disciplined in the area of prayer and fasting. And I need all the help I can get when it comes to fasting, because…well…fasting stinks. Eating is so much better than fasting. But I have come to find the value in delaying gratification, in saying “no” to natural appetites, so that I can say “yes” to a hunger for righteousness.

This year I am reading through N.T. Wright’s book Jesus and the Victory of God during the 40 days of Lent. Wright was my companion last year during Lent as I devoted 40 days to his massive book on the resurrection. This year I am reading through his book on Jesus, a fitting focus for Lent.

I am not observing Lent, because it has become in vogue for young, hip, contemporary, postmodern evangelical-types to take up ancient practices.

I am observing lent because I have repented of pride and arrogance.

For so long, I carried myself in pride, scoffing at traditional Christian churches with all of their “dead” rituals and traditions. I assumed that the traditions in my brand of Christianity were the only valid traditions because we have guitars after all; not to mention multi-media projectors and web infused technology! I have come to realize that my brothers and sisters in Christ who belong to more liturgical traditions have something to offer the greater body of Christ. Ancient traditions like Lent help us slow down and pay attention.

I have repented of my arrogance (and ignorance). I am learning to walk down, well-worn paths like Lent, paths that have been walked by millions (billions?) of Christians before me. I have repented of my snobbery and I have welcome in the traditions of the past. Traditions are not so bad. Concerning tradition, G.K Chesterton wrote:

“Tradition means giving votes to the most obscure of all classes, our ancestors. It is the democracy of the dead. Tradition refuses to submit to that arrogant oligarchy who merely happen to be walking around.”    –G.K. Chesterton, Orthodoxy

Join us on this 40 -day journey of prayer and fasting. Some people chose to give something up for Lent, which is just fine. There are no rules. My oldest son Wesley, said he wants to give up Pop-Tarts for Lent. I say, “Go for it.”

You choose how to pray and when to fast, but use this as an opportunity to confess and repent of sin and identify with Jesus. This is the purpose of Lent: to identify with Jesus, to see Jesus, to love Jesus, to commune with Jesus, to encounter him passionately, deeply, and reverently.

For more info and resources go to: http://www.churchyear.net/lent.html

Here is my prayer as I go into Lent 2010. It is a song from Dustine Kensrue:

“Consider the Ravens”
By Dustine Kensrue

I’ve got bills to pay
Taxman on my tail
Just keep prayin’ that
the check’s in the mail

There are times it seems
when everything’s lost
and I’m moaning, I’m tossed
and I see..

Between the river and the ravens I’m fed
Between oblivion and the blazes I’m led
So father give me faith, providence and grace
Between the river and ravens I’m fed
Sweet deliver, oh you lift up my head
and lead me in your way

I’ve grown sick and tired
of trying to stand still
I’ve learned to let the wind
pull me where it will

Throw myself into
the will of the wait
I can never be great
’til we’re free

Between the river and the ravens I’m fed
Between oblivion and the blazes I’m led
So father give me faith, providence and grace
Between the river and ravens I’m fed
Sweet deliver, oh you lift up my head
and lead me in your way

Although I’m walking through
the valley of the shadow of death
evils all around
It’s coming from the right and the left

Trust that I will see
the glory above
Oh, your banner of love
flies over me

Between the river and the ravens I’m fed
Between oblivion and the blazes I’m led
So father give me faith, providence and grace
Between the river and ravens I’m fed
Sweet deliver, oh you lift up my head
and lead me in your way

Amen and Amen

Here is a live version of Dustin Kensrue performing “Consider the Ravens”

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5 Comments

Posted by on February 17, 2010 in Family, Life, Ministry, Theology

 

Tags: , , ,

5 responses to “Lent 2010

  1. Santosh

    February 17, 2010 at 5:33 am

    Great thoughts – I think I’ll use the lyrics from that song for tomorrow night’s Ash Wednesday Prayer Meeting.

     
  2. Brian Zahnd

    February 17, 2010 at 5:44 am

    Nice blog. We’re with you on the Lenten journey from Ash Wednesday to Easter Sunday.

    “Jesus and the Victory of God” is my favorite N.T. Wright book.

     
  3. Kurt

    February 18, 2010 at 9:07 pm

    Dustin Kensrue is genius.

     
  4. derekvreeland

    February 18, 2010 at 10:29 pm

    Kensrue is an interesting character. I can’t say that I care for much of his Thrice stuff, but his solo/acoustic stuff is really good. He did a great Christmas album. Best song on it is called “This Is War.” Check out the story behind the song and song itself here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y3eGm7nVzWk

     
  5. sjeasterly

    February 25, 2010 at 2:35 am

    Refreshing to think of lent as more than giving up something. I love the focus on getting into Christ more.

     

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