The Journey Begins!

Man Walking This week will mark the beginning of a spiritual journey for us – Lent. It begins with Ash Wednesday. It is referred to as a “penitential” season. This means that we spend some extra time evaluating our life to see how far we are from living up to God’s expectations. As we do this, all of us must admit daily that we sin much and fall short of His expectations and requirements. God’s Word directs us back to the record given in Genesis 3 wherein we read that because of our sin we must die – “from dust you were taken, to dust you shall return.” Hence, the “dusty” ashes of Ash Wednesday are to remind us of this consequence of sin upon our lives. Before God we are only dust and ashes. Before God all of our good works are but filthy rags. WE NEED HELP TO BE SAVED, in fact, WE NEED AN INTERVENTION! Thanks be to God, He has provided that intervention help:  “For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life” (3:16). Because of Jesus our Savior, the reoccurring cadence as we march through Lent is, “Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the Author and Perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God” (Hebrews 12:2).

Fixed Eyes. When there is a reference to the Lenten Season, it is often referred to as a forty day period. In actuality, it consists of forty-six days. But Sundays are not counted as part of Lent. They occur in Lent, but they are not numbered with the Lententide. You see, each Sunday is referred to as a mini-Easter celebration. Traditionally, we emphasize the penitential nature of Lent by excluding “alleluias” from our worship services, but Sunday services are not intended to be heavy penitential type of services – we reserve Wednesdays for that! Instead, each Sunday we fix our eyes on Jesus, His suffering, and His cross, but we move in an upbeat way to include the joyous news of Easter. As we fix our eyes on Jesus, we also see “the joy set before Him” as He confidently faced the cross and death, knowing that He would be overcoming death, the grave, and Satan’s power.

Add Something. In many Christian traditions, people are encouraged to “give up” something for Lent. This is to impress upon them the sacrifice that Christ made for us. However, I believe it to be more beneficial if we would add something to our spiritual regimen. For the past two months we have been considering our spiritual gifts and the various ways in which those gifts can be used within the ministry of this Holy Trinity congregation. Lent would be a good opportunity to accept the challenge for service. Giving up something may only benefit yourself, but adding an area of service to your Lenten journey will benefit the whole church while glorifying the name of Jesus Christ! May this Lenten Season be a blessing to you and a blessing to all those lives impacted by your devotional journey. In service to Christ we certainly fix our eyes on Him!

Written By: Pastor Barrie Henke