Lent has arrived.

Originally it began as a time of preparation for baptism. Nowadays it’s the time to get ready for Easter.

Over time some people practiced giving up something, a reminder of the sacrifice of Jesus. In modern times there has been a trend towards adding something, like more Bible reading or volunteering at the soup kitchen.

Some traditions place a cross of ashes on their foreheads as Lent begins

Some traditions place a cross of ashes on their foreheads as Lent begins

Yet Lent, taken seriously, advertises a transformation of our heart, visible in how we live.

If you live with a low opinion of yourself, now comes an opportunity to rise above that. After all, Jesus loved you so much that he died on the cross for you.

Perhaps you think too highly of yourself. Consider the harsh reality that those who began and ended the trumped-up legal proceedings against Jesus were those who either were in charge, or thought they were. In Mark 10:18 we discover that the Chief Priests (not the ordinary ones who served in daily routines) and experts in religious law (scribes) plotted, successfully, to crucify Jesus. At the same time the ordinary folk in Jerusalem cheered Jesus and put coats and branches on the street to show their respect.

Lent may well present itself as the ideal time to respect the difference between official religion and simple spirituality. Religion literally murdered Jesus the Christ. Religion not only showed little interest in spiritual things, it organized an attack on God, supposedly the focus for religion.

Religion focusses on power. Spirituality focusses on the loving relationship individuals have with their Creator. It includes walking in respectful agreement with other people of Spirit.

18245801prayinghumilityFor instance, one of the lies of organized religion declares that people can “agree to disagree”. Yet Amos spoke the word of God and asked, “Can two walk together, except they be agreed?” (3:3 KJV) The Spirit of God spreads out into a vast expanse of respect and divine compassion. Paraclete  guides people individually, by name, to love God more than their personal opinions, to love themselves as children of God, and show respect for others. God’s love supercedes everything in a life of spiritual devotion.

So however you choose to observe it, may Lent prepare you to hear God say, “You mortals, the Lord has told you what is good. This is what the Lord requires from you: to do what is right, to love mercy, and to live humbly with your God” (Micah 6:8 God’s Word ©).

Will you be ready for Easter?

This Lent I am being led on a pilgrimage. I do not yet know if it is from persecution or to suffering or through both. Nevertheless the journey has begun.

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