Lenten Preparation

The liturgical calendar likes periods of preparation. In Advent we mark off four weeks to prepare ourselves for celebrating the importance of Christmas and the coming of Jesus. Ash Wednesday kicks off a period of six weeks of preparation for Palm Sunday, Holy Week, and Easter.

We don't do preparation all that well, but there is wisdom in that history of preparing ourselves. We want to run directly to Christmas and Easter, skipping over our need to pause and reflect on our own lives and our dependence upon God's provision we celebrate on those high holy days.

We set aside forty days of preparation in memory of Jesus taking 40 days to fast in preparation to being his three years of ministry. There is nothing specifically special about 40 days. It was just a round number used in Biblical times to express something like a month. For Jesus, it was a time to focus. It was a time to determine priorities for his ministry. It was a time to focus on being present with God and allowing God's design to inundate his life.

If Jesus needed time to prepare for ministry, we need it all the more. If Jesus needed time set aside to allow God to refocus his life priorities, we need it all the more. If Jesus needed time to invest in merging his perspectives and values to God's plans set before him, we need it all the more.

We don't just rush to Easter, or we miss what Easter and resurrection mean. We don't rush to the cross without a sense of Jesus' ministry and teaching leading to the cross. We don't rush to celebration until we know what we are really celebrating.


Lent means spring in its Anglo-Saxon origins. It is a promise of new life that is on its way. In the meantime, we must prepare the soil of our lives to receive the roots of that new life. We need to be tilled and worked so that the life we expect to receive in Christ Jesus may be firmly planted and bear appropriate fruit in and through us.

©Copyright 2018, Christopher B. Harbin  http://www.sermonsearch.com/contributors/104427/ 

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