LENT—is the 40 weekdays from Ash Wednesday (the day after ‘pancake day’) through to Easter observed by many in the Christian faith across denominations as a time of preparation for the celebration of the Easter morning. Lent is also the past tense of lend, which is to give use of something on a temporary basis on the understanding it will be returned.
We may be lent a book, a dvd, or maybe some money to help us out. In the first two we would return them but often when we borrow money and someone lends it to us (a bank or financial institution, money lender) they not only want the original sum back but more on top—interest. The lending to us of money has a cost.
With the birth of Jesus, God ‘lent’ us His Son and for a time he dwelt among the people of the Middle East—and from around the age of thirty He has a three year ministry during which he had a major impact on those who heard Him. His stories; His teaching; His healings; His arguments and discussion with those in positions of authority; and the real challenge of His message — come and follow me…
… and then his all too brief period of ministry was over—a final journey into Jerusalem with crowds welcoming Him, the plotting and conniving of the religious authorities to get rid of Him, and the compliance of the Roman rulers to help them.
So it came to the crucifixion. A brutal method of handing out the death penalty. Jesus, alongside two criminals, was nailed to a cross and left to die. The Son of God at this time bearing upon Himself the iniquity, the wrongs of humanity—taking them in His death and in doing so, enabling the potential for a right relationship with God the Father. This is central to the Christian faith—that Jesus died for us, YOU and me. He died that we might have eternal life beyond our death, but more than that — a complete and whole life.
Ever feel like life isn’t quite what you hoped? Or perhaps actually life really sucks—the pressure of money worries; body image; everyone on Facebook (or whatever social media you hang out on) seems to be having a great time, and you are not; the kids are playing up; your suffering from illness; loved ones are suffering from illness, depression. Ever felt like life is just too much—and the there really is no help?
But there is, despite suffering as part of the human condition. Life isn’t always easy, and I believe today in our 21st century world the pressure upon us and our children is maybe greater than ever. Yet we in the ‘western’ world are moving further and further away from God. We are told religion doesn’t have the answers. We are told that there was no creator. We are told there is no real truth. We are told we are mistresses and masters of our own destinies, that humanity, science, human reason and wisdom have the answers.
But it’s a lie! It’s a fallacy. There are mysteries, things beyond our understanding—mysteries of faith. I know to some, that faith and reliance on God is a useless crutch. But as Bear Grylls has said,
What does a crutch do? It helps you stand, and it makes you stronger, and in that case, sure, I need a bit of that. But it’s so much more than that. When there’s faith inside, it’s also like a backbone—helping me stand tall, and helping me be strong when I’m really up against it, facing the odds… just dealing with the storms of life… I need
At the heart of my Christian faith it says I am known, that I am known to Christ — bought at a price, blessed with light. Faith says we’re loved regardless of our mess, regardless of how many times we fall down and that somehow Jesus picks me up. Sure I’ll reach out for that, why wouldn’t I?
Why wouldn’t you?
What if anything, is holding you back from making a step to finding out about the Christian Faith? What is holding you back from inviting a friend, family member, a neighbour to come and hear this Good News—about Jesus, who loves us, so much He died that we might have fullness of life.
Jesus was lent to us for a time, but with no interest or price for us—it was He that paid the price on our behalf…
… and even more, he wasn’t just lent to then be given back. He was given for all eternity, that those who love Him might have life. Jesus said “I have come that [you] may have life, and have it to the full”.
C.S. Lewis, writer of the Chronicles of Narnia wrote “Christianity, if false, is of no importance, and if true, of infinite importance. The only thing it cannot be is moderately important”.
Come this Lent and Easter and seek the answers to Faith, Christ, and God our Father.
I wish you a very blessed Easter time.
Yours in Christ, Lord and Saviour