I’ve never been more excited than I am as I write this letter to you to begin the Lenten season. We are truly living in a powerful time at Covenant. There is a sweet spirit in worship and in our ministry teams. New discipleship groups are forming. We are building stronger bridges with our preschool and all our mission partners.
It’s a season of excitement.
It’s a season of change.
It’s a season of Lent.
Historically, Lent is the forty days between Mardi Gras and Holy Week, culminating with Easter.
Linguistically, “Lent” comes from the Old English word for Spring.
Theologically, Lent reenacts the 40 days spent by Christ in the wilderness where he was tempted by the devil (Matthew 4:1-11).
So, realistically … what difference does that make to us?
It makes all the difference.
Because this is the season of “the different.”
This is the season of grief for the past.
This is the season of joy for the future.
This is the season of transformation.
We are in the transformation business at Covenant. I think the beautiful thing about being followers of Jesus is that we acknowledge that change can be painful. It is not easy. But it is important. Jesus gets hungry and thirsty in the wilderness. But it is his own hunger and thirst that in a small way makes him Immanuel “God with us.” The Father sends Jesus into the world not to keep the world the same, but to transform this weary world into the Kingdom of God.
So the Spirit sends Jesus into the wilderness to hunger and to thirst and to be tempted. And from the wilderness the Spirit sends Jesus to fill the hungry, to save the thirsty, and to teach the tempted.
Then on the cross Jesus endures all things so that he can change all things. Through his own transformation from death to life he makes all things new (Revelation 21:5).
So we, too, are sent for Lent. We also are sent, wherever we go, to endure the pain of this world so that we can connect with the wounds of others. We are sent, wherever we are, to open ourselves to the Holy Spirit that we might be changed as well. And through the wounds of Christ we are transformed from members into missionaries.
I pray that this Lent you see something change in yourself and that you see something change in our church. And that through the Holy Spirit we might together join Christ in changing the world.
I can’t wait to see what happens next!