Lenten reflections

When I was a kid Lent was so simple, we never celebrated it.  Actually, I used it as an occasion to torture the Catholics and other high church weirdos in my school.  Every year they gave up sweets and got a break on Sundays, honestly it seemed simple and rather silly.  Seriously, didn’t Jesus give up so much more when He was in the wilderness for 40 days and nights being tempted by our enemy yet not succumbing?  Years later I meant the love of my life and as I pursued her I found out something rather odd, she observed Lent.  This sweet Baptist women followed a fast that many people in her church merely dismiss as sophistry.  I will not say that I picked up the practice for the most holy of reasons (young men will do anything to impress a women, and I am not exempt from this fact), but as I did I decided to begin researching the history of this season and this is what I came across:

The traditional purpose of Lent is the preparation of the believer, through prayer, penitence, alms-giving and self-denial, for the annual commemoration of the Death and Resurrection of Christ (Easter).

In our house we yearly practice this fast as a reflective and prayerful act to prepare our heart, soul/mind, and body for Easter.  We concluded the fast with a Seder [meal] (pictured above) to reflect on three (3) important Seders:

  1. Israel’s original Seder conducted in Egypt as they prepared to experiences the mighty deliverance of God (Exodus)
  2. Our Messiah’s Seder which He shared with His disciples just prior to His execution and sacrifice nearly 2000 years ago
  3. Our Seder which is conducted  in our home as is we ourselves are actually a part of the original experience and to continually remember the willing sacrifice of our Savior, that released us from slavery to sin into the Freedom to follow and worship Him.

So this year we participated in the Daniel Fast.  While searching on what to give up for Lent a friend of ours, Angie Lomas mentioned that she was thinking of doing this fast along with a program called Couch to 5k or C25k (this is the actual program).  Immediately, I latched on to the idea and told Heather who has also seen the same post.  The Daniel fast basically whittles you down to a few things to eat (depending on where you look and how literal you take His fast from scripture.

But Daniel resolved that he would not defile himself with the king’s food, or with the wine that he drank. Therefore he asked the chief of the eunuchs to allow him not to defile himself. And God gave Daniel favor and compassion in the sight of the chief of the eunuchs, and the chief of the eunuchs said to Daniel, “I fear my lord the king, who assigned your food and your drink; for why should he see that you were in worse condition than the youths who are of your own age? So you would endanger my head with the king.” Then Daniel said to the steward whom the chief of the eunuchs had assigned over Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah, “Test your servants for ten days; let us be given vegetables to eat and water to drink. Then let our appearance and the appearance of the youths who eat the king’s food be observed by you, and deal with your servants according to what you see.” So he listened to them in this matter, and tested them for ten days. At the end of ten days it was seen that they were better in appearance and fatter in flesh than all the youths who ate the king’s food. So the steward took away their food and the wine they were to drink, and gave them vegetables. Daniel 1:8-16, ESV

The fast was challenging on so many fronts but we endured and made it.  We were praying for many things and God gave us clarity on some and left us in the dark on the others.  A few of the things were:

  • Next steps after my residency at Concord has ended (it has almost been a year already and we have to begin thinking in that direction)
  •  Clarity in my calling (i.e. what type of church)
  • Many personal things
  • Complete the C25K program

In the end the Father is always faithful to us and this time once again brought about some frank discussion and drew us closer together.  Additionally, it was a great teaching point for my children to see another spiritual discipline exhibited by their parents.  The reason I wanted to write this is to simply reflect on the goodness and gracious of our Father and the sustaining power of His Spirit in the Christian’s life.  We are not super saints at all, we are just beggars trying to show other beggars where the bread is. Next time you should join us on the journey, I promise you wont regret it.


About Jon Nelson

I am just a nobody trying to tell everybody about Somebody [Christ Jesus]!

Posted on April 2, 2013, in ...from Jon, Life, Theology and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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