Light and Lent

Our kitchen used to be illuminated by a ceiling light that contained four fluorescent bulbs. Nothing unusual about the fixture, and we paid little attention to it―until something went wrong.

One day the two center tubes began to flicker and the strobe effect was so distracting that I climbed up on a stool to fix the problem.

When I replaced the two center tubes, they glowed a lot brighter than the outside ones. The old bulbs and the new ones were identical, the only difference was age. I decided to replace all four.

After the sun went down that evening, I walked into the kitchen and the room seemed different somehow. After a few seconds it hit me: the kitchen was extraordinarily bright.

Unlike incandescent bulbs that burn out completely, fluorescent lights tend to get dimmer with age. The dimming of our kitchen had been so gradual that we had not even noticed until the full brightness of the fixture was restored.

Faithfulness is like this.

We have every intention of following where Jesus leads, but over time our enthusisam is dimmed by the nagging necessities of life. The change is so gradual that most of us are not aware of it at all, until one day we are struck by the contrast of who we once intended to be and who we are now.

“I used to really study the Bible,” you might hear yourself saying, looking at notes you took years ago, “but lately I haven’t taken the time.” Someone else will realize that their prayer life has dwindled to quick cries for help at stoplights on the way to work. “I used to find time to get to know people in my church community….” “When did I stop going out of my way to minister to others?…” Suddenly we are confronted with the dimming of our own faith.

This is why we observe Lent—the 40 day season (not counting Sundays) leading up to Easter.

Lent is a time for replacing the dim bulbs of our faith.

Charles Price reminds us that “as the observance of Lent has developed, the whole church seeks year after year to approach the crucifixion and resurrection of the Lord with the same intensity and freshness as the newest candidates for baptism did at the beginning.”

By walking with Jesus to Jerusalem and his execution, we are reminded what drew us to faith in him in the first place. By being in his presence as he heads to his cross, his resolve rekindles ours; his steadfast faith strengthens ours. Walking close to Jesus these forty-plus days of Lent can revive our faith―if we will allow it.

There is a tradition of giving up something for Lent, which goes back to the practice of asking candidates for Easter baptism to give up food for two days as they reflected on their baptism.

While a lot of people choose to give up something for Lent, I prefer the option of taking something on. For instance:

Make a commitment to Christ and yourself to join the community in Lenten worship. We will be walking together with Jesus to the cross.

Make a commitment to Christ and yourself right now to be with Jesus daily, through Bible reading and prayer.

Make a commitment to Christ and yourself to give yourself away lavishly in at least one act of ministry before Easter.

Why don’t you leave a comment and let us know what you’re taking on for Lent.

The season of Lent is the church’s way of saying that it’s probably past time to change the bulbs of faithfulness in your life. The One who is the light of the world is encouraging you to shine to the limit of your potential.

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2 Responses to Light and Lent

  1. logan jones says:

    “Rise, Rise, People of Love Rise … People of Love Rise … Give Yourself Away, Give Yourself Away!”

    What an Easter northminster has in store for 2011 … Light and Lent, Wow.

    Sammy what a post. powerful.


  2. Pingback: The Season of Lent | Sammy's Blog

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