The season of Lent is traditionally a time of simplicity, scripture study, and prayer that for Christians. In some denominations, the season is primary and in most, there are services specifically designed to support congregation members in honoring this time of waiting and preparation. Lessons in Sunday School and worship during this time focus on the preparation for the path that Jesus walked, commemorated especially during Holy Week. Look for more on that in a future post.
Jesus went alone into the desert for 40 days before he faced crucifixion and all that was to come. It seems clear that drawing away for a time of quiet and entering into prayer and reflection are important to Christian life. Communion with God, reflection on life choices, scripture study, and moving away from the trappings of our busy lives nourishes the spirit. Indeed, we are to “pray without ceasing,” (I Thessalonians, 5:17), to have an attitude of prayer.
One of the images I have of Lenten reflection is one of open hands. Extending the hand to God, not in a quest for wishes to be fulfilled, but in earnest prayer for the gifts of deepened relationship, spiritual growth, and peace, will open our hearts too. And yes, this is an opening of our hearts to give, but it is also an opening of our hearts to RECEIVE Lenten Grace. Many individuals seem more comfortable with giving than with receiving - whether it is grace from heaven or the helping hand of a friend. Let us determine to learn this lesson this Lent, along with the many others God teaches us in his everlasting lovingkindness. Amen.