Lent is a spiritual journey! A wise man once said, “before you begin a journey it is best to know where you are going.” Lent is a journey, a journey that leads us to Easter.
Easter is so much more than just one of the feasts! It is so much more than a mere commemoration of a past event! It is the celebration of the “death of Death, the annihilation of Hell, the beginning of a new and everlasting life.”
Paul says, “…we were buried with Christ…unto death, so that as Christ was raised from the dead we also may walk in newness of life.” (Romans 6:4). Thus on Easter we are to celebrate Christ’s Resurrection as something that happened and is still happening to us.
Every Christian has received that “life”, that “eternal, abundant, zoe”, God-kind of life and the very empowerment to accept and live by it. This gift of life changes our entire attitude, perception, and ability to live “in” but not “of this world.
The whole of our “faith” is that by His own death Christ has changed the very nature of death for us. It is for us a passage — “a passover,” (a Pasha) — into the Kingdom of God. He has transformed the “tragedy of tragedies” into the most ultimate of victories! Conquering death by death, He has opened the way that we may become partakers of His resurrection and His nature.
This is our “faith”, however this “faith” remains elusive to most Christians due in no small part to the fact that we live as if Christ did not rise from the dead. We live as though we are unaware that this unique event had no real meaning to us whatsoever.
We have simply forgotten — we are so busy, so overcome by our preoccupations, so blinded by the “things” of this life — because we have forgotten we fail to live in this “new life” that He has given us. Indeed we live as if He never came, never died, and never rose again.
Christian traditions, it’s seasons, it’s celebrations, and all of its services, exist, first and foremost, in order for us to recover the vision and the taste of this “life” that He came to give us. It is through our worship that we “remember” and enter into communion with, this new life of the Kingdom of God.
It is through her worship that the Body of Christ, the church, the people of God, encounter something of that which “the ear has not heard, the eye has not seen, and what has not yet entered the heart of man, but which God has prepared for those who love Him”
This “passover” (Pascha) is the very center of Christian worship! It celebrates the foretaste of the eternal joy that awaits each of us and the very glory of the victory of Christ’s death and resurrection, which already exists, although it remains invisible at this moment.
The entire worship of the Church is centered and organized around Easter. Every thing that we celebrate and participate in all year long is thus a journey, a pilgrimage towards Easter, (Pascha, passover). The end of all that which is “old” and the beginning of the “new life” that Christ has given to us. You and I are challenged by this vision and this goal of living in this new life which is so far beyond our ability!
When Christ called for the rich young ruler to denounce all of his worldly connections, even the Apostle’s despairingly asked, “but how is this possible?” To reject our daily lives, our preoccupations, our search for material goods, our own safety, and our desire for pleasure, seems utterly impossible.
This is what Lent is all about! In the beginning of the Church, Lent was meant to prepare the newly converted Christian for baptism which was preformed during the Easter celebration. Lent was the very “help” of the Church given to these new converts to train or school them in repentance. To help them “turn” from their preoccupation with this life and to live by and from His gift of “new life.” The early church helped them to live a life whose sight is set “on things above.”
Easter is therefore, our return, every year to our own Baptism!
Lent is therefore, our preparation for that return, it is our journey towards both death and life!
The end of the “old” and the beginning of the “new.” Each year Lent and Easter are, once again, the way of “remembering”, of rediscovery, and recovery by each of us, what we were made and are becoming through our own baptismal death and resurrection.
Lent is thus a journey! A journey towards a destination that we already know! We can see that destination — it is Easter! It is Resurrection Life! It is an abundant entrance into the very “life of the Kingdom of God.”
Enjoy the Journey!
P.S. If you don’t have a devotional for this journey. I want to invite you to pick up a copy of a small 40 devotional that I prepared.