Lent is the season of preparation and discipline, which begins on Ash Wednesday 26 February and concludes at sun-down on Holy Thursday 9 April. During the forty weekdays and six Sundays in Lent, the Church remembers the sacrificial life and ministry of Jesus leading to the cross, and renews its commitment to Christian discipleship.
This is the explanation of the Season of Lent according to the Common Lectionary.
Key words jump out: “preparation, discipline, remembers, ministry of Jesus, leading to the cross, renews commitment to Christian discipleship”. We as Christians are each called and challenged to prepare and to discipline ourselves as we remember the sacrificial life and ministry of Jesus. Death on the cross is brutal and humiliating. Jesus died on the cross for you and for me.
It is a time also for renewing our commitment to Christ, and for our Christian discipleship. In every season we are challenged and put on the spot about our acceptance and belief in Jesus Christ as Lord and Saviour.
Lent, for me, is reminding us that our lives are measured, examined, re-examined and renewed in our commitment to Jesus Christ.
Forty days reminds me of the Israelites' forty years in the wilderness. It reminds me also of the Lord Jesus' forty days in the wilderness during his temptation. It speaks to me of all our life, our years. "Forty" is a long time. Our lives, our days, matter to God's plans for each one of us. Jesus is God's Way, Truth and Life, for you and I.
Simply put, in preparation for Jesus this Easter, unclutter, clear out, put down what you do not need to carry and unnecessarily burden yourself with. Clear your mind, let go of lingering issues, free up yourself (physically and spiritually). Lent Season reminds us that Jesus suffered and died. We need to focus on this in preparation.
Discipline in this Lent Season, for me, is about changing my life so that the Holy Spirit may be able to transform. Giving up whatever is in the way of a quality lifestyle, ie particular food, television, hoarding, idleness, over working etc. The Christian life, at all times, is a disciplined life. It must be managed well both physically and spiritually.
Safe travel this Lent Season.
Yours in Christ's service
Right Reverend Fakaofo Kaio
Moderator of the Presbyterian Church of Aotearoa New Zealand