Call to worship
L: God of rainbow and promise,
P: God of wilderness wanderings.
L: God of dark nights of doubt.
P: God of comfort and call,
L: Dwell with us this holy season of Lent
P: And lead us from temptation to trust, from fear to love, from
despair to hope, from sadness to joy.
click here to access
resources and more
for all of the non-alleluias and abstinence associated with the season,
isn’t even in the Bible. Doesn’t make so much as a cameo appearance.
Early Christians did not have a place for such a season. We’ll see some
giving-up of meals here and there in the records, but the forty days of
Lent was not in the agenda of early Christians. Self-denial, however,
was always in season. Many early Christians were clearly distinguished
by their love for one another, by their willingness to give up status,
freedom, and even life and limb for the faith they owned. Life was
always in the balance, lived on the edge in those early days.
But once the
adrenaline rush of persecution ended, life reverted to ho-hum again.
Accommodation not aggravation. Since Jesus hadn’t returned according
their last days calendar, everyone settled back for a long wait.
Eventually accommodation gave way to acculturation—fitting in took top
priority. In fact, there was scarcely any discernable difference
between Christians and nonchristians. They no longer expressed such
bold love for one another, and fewer and fewer were getting arrested for
siding with those who were poor, sick, handicapped, impoverished.
Accommodation in. Extremes out. Crosses of martyrs produced a cottage
industry of devotional jewelry and mantle pieces. And Christians became
comfortable. As Barbara Brown Taylor puts it, “They decided there was
no contradiction between being comfortable and being Christian.”
eventually—no one knows exactly when—Lent was invented as a six-week
period of spiritual discipline before Easter. Playing loose with
the numbers will yield the number 40. Moses was on the Mountain of
God for forty days. Forty were the years he stayed on the backside
of the wilderness. Forty were the years that Israel wandered in
the wilderness and the days that Jesus went without food in the
wilderness. Forty days is a long time; it reminds us that we’re
talking about a process rather than a once-for-all event when it comes
to the conversion of our lives.
Subscribers: Click here
for the entire manuscript and more
Not a subscriber yet?
Click here to subscribe now and gain instant access to these
resources plus an ENTIRE YEAR of weekly resources
for only 39.95!!