Perspectives

Lent a time to focus on relationship with God

By Donna Putney
Posted 2/18/21

Last Sunday, the Christian faith celebrated the transfiguration of our Lord. The word transfiguration is a complete change of form or appearance into a more beautiful or spiritual state. This is …

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Perspectives

Lent a time to focus on relationship with God

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Last Sunday, the Christian faith celebrated the transfiguration of our Lord. The word transfiguration is a complete change of form or appearance into a more beautiful or spiritual state. This is always celebrated the Sunday before Lent. It is the preview of what will become apparent to Jesus’ followers after he rises from the dead three days after his crucifixion. We are given a vision of God’s glory manifest in the beloved Son. And with this glimpse, comes an invitation to prepare for the resurrection of Jesus.

On Ash Wednesday, we began our 40-day journey toward Easter with a day of fasting and repentance. Marking our foreheads with dust, we acknowledge that we die and return to the earth. At the same time, the dust traces the life-giving cross indelibly marked on our foreheads at baptism.

While we journey through Lent to return to God, we have already been reconciled to God through Christ. We humbly pray for God to make our hearts clean while we rejoice that “now is the day of salvation.” Returning to our baptismal call, we more intentionally bear the fruits of mercy and justice in the world.

During the 40 days of Lent, our focus as followers of Jesus is to be active in almsgiving, fasting, and praying. Almsgiving during this time, and hopefully always, involves your willingness to share your time, talents, and monetary gifts with others. And when you do this, you are not to be boastful; keep your giving private/anonymous, and expect nothing in return, for your reward will be in heaven.

We are also being invited to pray intensely, to engage in an intimate conversation with God. You should try to experience some alone time with God. Finding a Lenten season devotional is a great way to experience time with God. If you need assistance finding one, please let me know and I can suggest one for you.

Fasting is the third element of honoring the 40 days of Lent. When you fast, you consider giving something up. Possibly something that is time consuming or costly (social media/daily treats), but you can probably live without. By giving up this time consuming activity or expensive treat, you may have more time to do things for others or use the funds to help someone in need.

Lent is meant to be a time of reflection. A time to evaluate where we were, where we are now, and where we hope life will take us. As we have experienced this past year, it has become evident that we are not in control. Life as we knew it was changed with little notice. But as of today, we can look back over the last 12 months and see that we have persevered. Many things have changed and we have learned to adapt. We have cared for our loved ones who became ill and honored those who we have lost by showing them our love and the eternal love of God.  

Lent begins during a season of less light and more darkness. But this will change. As we move through the next 40 days, we will experience the darkness turning to light. A bright light that represents a beautiful and spiritual form that has come to save us and through the waters of baptism we receive the promise of eternal life.  

A tradition of the Lutheran church is to refrain from singing or speaking alleluia during the season of Lent. Last year many of our congregations were not meeting in person on Easter Sunday due to COVID-19. This year as you gather together on Easter Sunday in your worship communities, I encourage you to sing or pray with the most joy you can muster to thank God for bringing us to this point in our faith journey.  

 

(Donna Putney is the pastor of Hope Lutheran Church, 588 Avenue H, Powell.)

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