Editor's Picks Opinion

Seasons: Use Lent to deepen faith

There’s a lot of talk about seasons right now. We’re in calving season and basketball season and we’re wondering when winter will loosen its grasp on us and we’ll get to move into the season of spring. Seasons help order our days and activities.

Pastor Renee Johnson
Special Contributor

It’s the same in the church—the church year moves through various “seasons” as well. On Ash Wednesday, March 6, Christians entered the season of Lent. In contrast with other seasons of the church year, like Christmas and Easter which are filled with celebrations of light and joy, Lent takes a more somber, reflective tone. Throughout Lent we ponder our sinfulness and God’s goodness. We listen to God calling us away from sin and into a fuller, deeper loving relationship with him.

Lent is a forty-day season of penitence and preparation that leads from Ash Wednesday through Holy Week and into Easter, which we celebrate April 21 this year. To be penitent is to be sorrowful and remorseful for the sins we have committed. True penitence and remorse lead us to want to turn away from sin, change our ways and live differently. Jesus shows us this new way of living and invites us to pattern our lives on his.

The season of Lent provides a special time in the year for Christians to reflect on our faith and our lives. Lent also provides a time for us to turn more intentionally to faith practices that will help us grow and strengthen our relationship with God and fortify us for living God-pleasing lives. Throughout the season of Lent, as we continue to ponder God’s love and mercy for us as sinners, we are helped through prayer, fasting, worship, bible study, and generous giving and acts of service. These spiritual practices help us to more deeply come to know, love and serve God by following the way Jesus shows us.

What will you do to make these 40 days of Lent a time when you deepen your relationship with God? Some things to consider include spending more time in prayer, increasing your study of scripture and participating in Sunday and Wednesday worship and fellowship. And, consider not going it alone—involve family, friends and neighbors in your Lenten activity. Invite them to read a book of the Bible or passage of scripture and talk about it together. Gather with others to pray for one another and the world. Go to worship—and bring someone with you. Find a new way to share the blessings God has given you through giving your time or your talent or your treasure to serve God in some way right here in our community.

Lent is a season to ponder God’s great love for us even though we are sinners. Lent is a time to cling to the forgiveness God offers us in Jesus. I encourage you to use these days of Lent to draw closer to God. Let’s use this season of Lent to shape our lives to live more fully in God’s love and to share God’s love with others. Have a blessed Lent.