A Season of Restrained Celebration
When people think of Lent what comes to mind might be repentance, or giving things up, or a focus on the cross. For some it brings to mind a heavy-handed season of inward focus that feels dark. For others it has been experienced as a time for excessive guilt. In spite of all this, Lent can become a time of celebration. That may sound strange and unexpected. The key is that the celebration is restrained, is expressed in subdued and anticipatory ways, and is geared toward preparing to celebrate with exuberant joy the paschal mystery at Easter. Lent is a season of fasting, and fasting is about a discipline of restraint so that one can celebrate more deeply and extravagantly something wonderful later. But even in that time of preparation, the joy that is to come is known now. This is Lent. Since (the Sundays during) Lent are feast days and not fast days, and the celebration of the (Lord’s Supper) is always appropriate, they are the perfect time to express a sense of restrained celebration and anticipatory joy.
Consider the origins of Lent: a time of intense preparation for baptism at Easter. What could be more joyful than to prepare for one’s life to be transformed into a new life in Christ? Yet Lent was for preparation and expectation, not the full expression of celebration and joy. The disciplines and rituals of preparation all say to the baptismal candidate: get ready, God is about to do something wonderful in you through the death and resurrection of Christ at baptism.
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RESURRECTION LUTHERAN CHURCH
“SMALL PLACE WITH A BIG HEART!”