Archive for February, 2010|Monthly archive page

Lent is Approaching

In Christianity, Lent on February 15, 2010 at 8:38 am

Lent begins on Wednesday, February 17. Although there are many—and more profound—perspectives on this sacred season (for example, Paul Claudel’s A Poet Before the Cross), here is a simple acrostic to help us prepare for Lent in the year 2010:

L: Longing for God.  Surely we must begin here!  Without that longing for God, our spiritual hunger and thirst, do we truly desire deeper conversion?  A more fervent interior life?  See Father Jay Scott Newman’s expansion on deeper conversion and ways to foster Christian fervency, here.

E: Energetic, earnest desire to please God.  Undergirding all practical expressions of our Lenten discipline, we must remember we are in relationship with Jesus Christ, who loved us and gave Himself for us (Revelation 1:5, Titus 2:13-14).  Christianity is not a system or a propositional abstraction. Seek to please Him!

N: “Nothing is more important to me than You, O Lord.” Are we ready to say that? That is the motive, that is the motivation, behind anything we give up during Lent. We are not punishing ourselves or seeking to earn God’s favor. We are saying, “You gave your all for me, Lord. I can give up this for You in pursuit of greater self-mastery, with the goal of loving you more completely and serving you more faithfully.”

T: To all of this . . . add love!  “If I give away all that I have, and if I deliver up my body [to death], but have not love, I gain nothing” (1 Corinthians 13:3). Let the love of Christ radiate through you to others! In most of our lives, that is far more difficult—and more needful—than giving up dessert for 40 days.

To all that you do during this Lenten season, add love . . . and live Christianity Richly!

Things Accomplished

In Christianity on February 14, 2010 at 6:39 am

In our study of sacred scripture, we must always read thoughtfully; read and meditate—rather than making our priority simply to finish a particular passage or chapter.  When we read thoughtfully, the Holy Spirit never fails to bless time spent with God’s word.

Morning Bible study today provided a wonderful reminder of that.  The Gospel of Luke opens with the apparently unremarkable words:

Inasmuch as many have undertaken to compile a narrative of the things that have been accomplished among us . . . . (Luke 1:1, ESV)

“The things that have been accomplished among us.”  Those could be words from any CEO’s report to her/his Board of Directors. Yet think about what Luke is ready to recount.  The “things that were accomplished among us” involve nothing less than the intervention of God into the universe for the redemption of man and creation!

By the miracle of the Incarnation, and the improbable vehicle of the Cross, Jesus Christ’s death, burial, resurrection, and ascension changed the course of history. Moreover, His ongoing work in us, through Word and Sacrament by the power of the Holy Spirit, transforms all of us who claim His sacrificial death as our hope; as our strength; as our merit before God.

As we begin this season of Lent, let us walk with Christ on His way to Calvary. Let us meditate on “the things that have been accomplished among us.”  Let us take comfort in that, through all that was accomplished leading up to Easter, we—through the greatness of His love—have access to His house (Psalm 5:7/8) now and eternally.

“The things that have been accomplished among us,” indeed!  That is Christianity Richly.