“He left His Father’s throne above
So free, so infinite His grace,
Emptied Himself of all but love,
And bled for Adam’s helpless race:
Amazing love! How can it be,
That Thou my God, should die for me!” - Charles Wesley
Planning for the church year is always interesting. After Christmas there is a brief lull before we start looking at the new year. Each year I check the calendar with this one question: “will Easter be early or late?” After the busy Christmas season, I had to double check the actual date of the Easter Season. I was surprised, as was the worship team, at the timing: Ash Wednesday, which starts Lent, is on Valentine’s Day. As we were discussing the date, I couldn’t help but find significance in the timing.
Lent is a period of preparation and self-reflection that takes from February through Holy Week in the end of March. Some of us think of Lent as a time of “giving up some-thing” - like meat on Friday or chocolate! Are we missing the real meaning and signifi-cance of Lent? What is Lent really about? It is a time for gaining a renewed understanding of the deep and abiding love that God has for us, exemplified through His Son, Jesus Christ.
The hymn listed above by Charles Wesley is one of my favorites. In addition to its timeless melody, many of Wesley’s hymns taught theology through music. Think about those few stanzas: we begin with Jesus coming to earth, which is the wonder of Christmas, and travel through Lent to the cross. That is the Christian message and the meaning of Lent.
What is Valentine’s Day about? That question is simple and the answer a “no-brainer!” We think of the people we love—family, friends and that “special one.” Do you know that God has that same love, care and concern for us as His children, not just on one day of the year, but every day? Lent is the focus, rededication and reminder of that love.
People come to Lent at different places. Perhaps you understand the meaning of the season. Or perhaps you want to know more about that Love. Lent offers a place for all. I invite one and all on the Lenten journey together as the Body of Christ. We begin with re-flection on Ash Wednesday and will travel scripturally, spiritually and emotionally to the cross. My hope is that you will join us for this journey.
May you be blessed and changed by that “amazing love” this Lenten season and beyond!
Yours in Christ,