The context of Lent
Father David Jones
The context of Lent is important. Lent is a season of forty days before Easter. Lent only makes sense in the context of Easter. There is nothing glorious about the discipline of Lent unless it prepares us to shout “HALLELUJAH!”
Worship requires a heart, mind, Body and soul that can offer God the highest praise. Lent helps us to get there.
Lent begins on Ash Wednesday with us remembering that we are dust and unto dust we shall return. In other words, we are created and we will return to the Creator. In the end, God will want to know if you are who He created or did we change into some ungodly creature? In the beginning God made a choice. In the meantime we make choices. In the end will be the evidence of whether or not our choices, lives, are consistent with what God choose in the beginning.
Lent is organized to un-break the circle that is broken when we make choices that are contrary to God. And so we give up some things during Lent in order to be compliant with God.
Compliance requires clear communication. And so we pray more during Lent. Contrary to popular belief, prayer is much more than dropping off a load of laundry for God to wash. Prayer is listening to God more than it is talking to God. Lyrics like “I’ll be somewhere listening for my name” and “Over my head I hear music in the air” are great Lenten themed lyrics. We listen in order to hear instruction and then with hope and faith we are able to comply with God. That is the great goal of Lent.
Almsgiving, to be increased during Lent, is another form of surrendering to God, surrendering things is symbolically surrendering self, remembering that you are dust and unto dust you shall return, unto God you shall return. Almsgiving is also a practice of trying to help someone else get back to God. After all we were created a people, it seems to reason that if we return as a people, we have done our best.