Turning to Lent

Pastoral Reflections

We have been journeying through Epiphany the last eight weeks. The season concludes next Sunday – well, technically, on Tuesday.

We kicked off the journey with the Magi on Epiphany Day. The First Sunday after Epiphany Day had us at Christ’s baptism with the Father revealing Jesus’ identity as His Son. The last Sunday of Epiphany, next Sunday, will have us at the Transfiguration with the Father reiterating that revelation. Between those bookends, we have seen Jesus revealed to the world and His disciples in various ways.

Then, after Epiphany comes Lent. Lent is often seen from different perspectives. I like to see it as the season when, with the Messiah, we begin to turn our faces toward Jerusalem and the cross. Jesus will exhibit a completeness to His humanity in the laying down of His life… His body.

We also call to mind our own humanity as part of that Lenten journey. So, we begin with Ash Wednesday, a worship service in which we take ashes upon ourselves – a concrete reminder of our mortality and a liturgical invitation to Lent.

I must argue, however, that Lent is not this hopelessly dark season. We walk Lent in anticipation of Easter. In fact, Easter is the impetus for Lent. Jesus gets to the bottom of humanity’s predicament – in His suffering and death, so that He may pull us up with Himself in resurrection into life in His glory. Lent is like walking through a valley with the mountaintop in view.

In the coming weeks, I hope to offer some meditations on Lent. Christ has revealed Himself in Epiphany. Now let us follow Him, by faith, on that winding, rocky road toward Jerusalem.