The Lenten Season


In a season of barren trees, darker days, viruses, and waiting, we pray,

Send forth your light and your truth,
let them guide me;
let them bring me to your holy mountain,
to the place where you dwell. – Psalm 43:3

You’ve gotta check out the carnival at A Ten O’Clock Scholar for ideas and encouragement regarding this Lenten season. I’m convinced that Christians have been observing this season for years and years because they wisely understood the healing and restoration that occurs when we deliberately focus on how Jesus’ sacrificial love transforms our sin into life.

Since the 40 days of Lent are supposed to resemble Jesus’ 40 day fast in the wilderness, I’ve decided to focus our family’s observation there.

So, as Jesus spent that time with His Father, I’ll begin by teaching Vivienne how to have a personal quiet time with her Father, starting with a couple of minutes each day.

At the end of His fast, Jesus was tempted by the devil, but remained sinless as He combated the temptations with Scripture. Each week, we’ll ask the Holy Spirit to help us identify a temptation that we will need to be equipped to overcome. We’ll memorize a Scripture that will strengthen us whenever we are depleted and ready to give in to sin.

Wherewithal shall a young man cleanse his way? by taking heed thereto according to thy word. With my whole heart have I sought thee: O let me not wander from thy commandments. Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee. – from Psalm 119

During the last week of Lent, we’ll make a Lenten Cross with Vivienne. Basically, the tradition is to pin confession papers onto a cross throughout the season. On Easter Sunday, these papers are replaced by beautiful flowers. I think that I might lose Vivienne’s attention after 40 days of pinning sins onto the cross (after all, she is only 2 1/2). Although I want to look seriously at sin, I don’t want her to get the impression that sin is an eternity for us (to a 2 1/2 year old, 40 days can certainly seem like an eternity). I’d rather do it for a week, reflecting on the gravity of our sin, but fully relish the beautiful forgiveness of our sins on Easter! (Also, instead of burning the entire cross at the end, perhaps we will simply burn the confession papers before placing the fresh flowers on the cross: this might be a more tangible way to demonstrate that Jesus transforms our ashes into beauty.)

1 The Spirit of the Sovereign LORD is on me,
because the LORD has anointed me
to preach good news to the poor.
He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted,
to proclaim freedom for the captives
and release from darkness for the prisoners, to proclaim the year of the LORD’s favor
and the day of vengeance of our God,
to comfort all who mourn,

and provide for those who grieve in Zion—

to bestow on them a crown of beauty

instead of ashes,
the oil of gladness
instead of mourning,
and a garment of praise
instead of a spirit of despair.
They will be called oaks of righteousness,
a planting of the LORD
for the display of his splendor.
– from Isaiah 61

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