This year, I experienced Lent for the first time. Keith suggested to our house church a year ago that we should go through Martin L. Smith’s A Season for the Spirit for the next Lent season and everyone agreed to collectively read the book and come to discuss it on Sunday mornings together.
I had never heard the term nor did I know what Lent was. Growing up I knew only Easter day. Usually, along with Sunday church service, my family attended maybe a resurrection play, or we watched some vintage version of the life of Christ on CBN. My understanding of Jesus’ life was limited to just his purpose. It was rare to just soak in the knowledge that he was human just as much as he was the Son of God and I thought my own experience and understanding of the Lord was the same that everyone experienced.
It wasn’t until I was in college that I first started hearing the term Lent. It was usually accompanied by moans from my Catholic friends who seemed to be burdened with the idea of giving up something, usually meat. At the time, I equated legalism and tradition in the church as the same thing. As I grew older and hopefully wiser, my soul craved the beauty, reverence and simplicity that tradition could offer.
The only thing I gave up for Lent this year was my limited perception of Jesus. Smith’s book invites us into the desert with Jesus at the very beginning of his ministry, and then guides us through not only his divinity, but more importantly his humanity. I find that I unconsciously strive to reflect his perfect divinity rather than his humanity. Yes, Jesus did miraculous things, but the bulk of the gospels is about the truth and wisdom he shared with us on how to be more of the humans that God intended us to be. How I conduct myself as a human being is just as much apart of my spiritual necessity as praying.
As we enter Holy Week today I invite you to ask the Spirit to take away the “ignorance and self-centeredness” that imagines that what you know of the life and sacrifice of Christ is all there is to know of him.