Pastor Paul Rieger - Associate Pastor - Trinity Lutheran Church
Reflecting on Lent
Lent is Here!
Lent has started and March is packed full of Lenten services. So what is the point of Lent? Lent is a solemn time, a time of reflection, a time where we prepare to celebrate our risen Lord. In this season of Lent, we put away our alleluias, we put a veil on the cross, and we turn to focus on ourselves.
Lent is a very different season in our calendar. Usually we’re a people of celebration, celebrating our salvation and our God of love. Outside of Lent, we are called to focus on loving and serving our neighbor. Inside of Lent, we are called to repentance and figuring out what that means for ourselves. And so the question you need to ponder this month of March: What do I need to focus on? What do I need to do to improve my relationship with my God? What do I need to do to actually change and be better as God has made me?
Giving up for Lent?
There are many who use the season of Lent to give something up. They seek to improve themselves by breaking a bad habit or better understand loss. Others seek to have a new spiritual discipline to grow closer to their God. Pastor Nirva has shared that his plan is to read through the Psalms. Honestly, I usually never do anything for Lent, no new devotion plan; I don’t give anything up. For me, this is a time of reflection.
Joel 2:12-13 says, “‘Yet even now,’ declares the Lord, ‘return to me with all your heart, with fasting, with weeping, and with mourning; and rend your hearts and not your garments.’ Return to the Lord your God, for he is gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love; and he relents over disaster.”
In reflecting on my sin, I usually beat myself up, I hate myself for what I do to myself and how I destroy the relationship between my God and myself. I rend my heart, I tear it in two. So many out there would think I was crazy to do this to myself, but it is in my reflection that I find myself clinging to God. In my mourning over sin, I find myself returning to my God, realizing that I cannot do it by myself. When I turn to God, I do not find a judgmental beast who wishes to condemn, I find mercy, I find steadfast love. And so as you celebrate this season, in whatever way you do, do it in such a way that turns you to God. And when you do turn to God, you will find mercy and steadfast love.