Ten days from today Christians around the world will remember the day we now call Good Friday, and twelve days from today we will rejoice as we once again reflect on the resurrection of Jesus, the empty tomb and all that Jesus accomplished us. This
I have found that it is very important for me to not avoid looking at the hard part. My heart just isn’t ready to truly celebrate and appreciate Easter without it. I need to remember. God’s Word is full of instructions for his people to look back and remember what He has done. He has designed us to need these
To give you a very brief and not all-inclusive summary: Lent is observed in the days leading up to the celebration of Easter. Traditionally there are 40 days which are modeled after the 40 days Jesus spent in the wilderness. It is intended to be a somber season of reflection, prayer, fasting, and giving. There are many ways those things play out in the lives of Believers of differing denominations, but I could certainly agree that those are all things that Scripture addresses and, when not done with legalistic motives, are good things. (Done because I want to, not because I HAVE to. Sound familiar?)
I have chosen this year to observe Lent in a way unique to me. After praying for God’s guidance I adopted the following (which I share with you NOT for you to emulate, but as food for thought and
As a sacrifice, I have chosen to get up 30 minutes earlier than my normal morning routine requires and spend that time in prayer and in the Word, journaling. I have been reading a Lenten devotion series that has no commentary but simply gives a different passage every day to read and reflect on. I have had the pleasure of doing this “with” a dear friend – she is reading the same passages and we share our thoughts with one another. This is different than my normal “quiet time”, it is an intentional time of focusing on Jesus through the Word and also the weeding of my heart.
My husband and I have chosen to have rice and beans for dinner on Wednesday nights to intentionally remember the huge numbers of people who are poor and needy and don’t have the access to food that we do. It is very humbling. We talk about this with our children, and the need to feed the hungry. This is not fasting, it is simply an exercise in compassion and gratitude. We got the idea (which we adapted) from a devotion series that we are doing with our kiddos that is pushing us to really see others and their needs, and stop living selfish lives. It is called 30 Days of Heartwork, and it’s on the brown bible app. I don’t know its real name. (That is just a little extra!)
My husband and I have also chosen to incorporate actual fasting into this season. For us, it has looked like skipping lunch one day a week for three weeks, breakfast and lunch on that day for two weeks, and we intend to fast a whole day on the last week. We intend to use that time when we would be eating in prayer. I’ll be completely transparent, the fasting itself is easier than taking the time to be intentional in prayer. And also, I get cranky. Just being completely real. We aren’t giving up, though. We know that the Lord looks at our hearts and our motives and we are a work in progress. Don’t get discouraged if you make a plan and it doesn’t work out exactly as you thought it would. Fasting isn’t a part of our normal spiritual lives, but we know that it is all over the Bible.
The last part of my plan, other than to give to the Annie Armstrong offering, and perhaps celebrating Passover, was to find a way to bring somberness and appropriate seriousness to Good Friday. I had been looking around trying to find something, and many churches do have services that evening. In fact, I just learned that Pastor Ralph will be showing “The Passion of the Christ” in our worship center that evening. Friday, April 19 at
Please hear my heart. I am nothing special and I certainly do not believe I have created the perfect plan to prepare for Easter. If you have been encouraged to prepare your own heart over the next 10-12 days, and I hope you have, the Holy Spirit will guide you in how to do it. My ideas are meant to be a springboard, but they are what the Lord knew would speak to me.
One more thing, if you come to my home, you will see bunnies and eggs and when it comes to Starburst jelly beans I think I have a serious problem that might need an intervention. We have fun with all the springtime “stuff” this time of year. That stuff, as wonderful as it is, just isn’t what Easter is all about. I don’t want to miss what matters most. I don’t want to forget the price Jesus paid for me. I want to look hard into his suffering so that I can appreciate it all the more, and so that I can continue to grow a distaste for my own sin that I may be willing to get rid of it. Then, on Easter Sunday, I will celebrate with joy. I pray that you will, too.