What is Lent?
Throughout Christendom there are those who fast, pray, repent and give alms as a way of entering into Christ’s journey to the cross. And at the same time, the word “Lent” in English means “spring”, the beginning of new life. Isn’t it interesting that our entrance into eternal life begins with a journey toward death?
My best friend in elementary school was Joanie. One day as the Wisconsin snow was beginning to thaw and the first daffodils were beginning to poke their little noses up from the earth, Joanie asked me, “What are you giving up for Lent?” That was the first time I remember hearing that word. “Giving up? What does that mean,” I asked. “Well,” Joanie explained, “It’s Lent. You are supposed to give something up if you love God.”
I loved God, but I wondered to myself, “What does that mean, to give up something?”
I continue to ask myself that question. Life has taught me that “giving up” and “letting go” are a necessary part of daily life. That isn’t easy to do – it’s a sacrifice, it’s the death of something hoped for or expected.
But the miracle happens. From that little daily death of letting go, new life springs forth as I receive God’s grace upon grace.
What is Lent? For me, it’s a time of growing awareness of God’s amazing grace.