This weekend I started a new Bible plan at YouVersion, Devotions for Lent from Holy Bible. Although I’ve never specifically celebrated Lent, I want to embrace this concept:
For some Christians, Lent has always been a part of their spiritual life, but for others it is unfamiliar. Lent is a season leading up to Easter, a time when Christians have historically prepared their hearts for Easter with reflection, repentance, and prayer. Lent begins with Ash Wednesday and proceeds for forty days, excluding Sundays, and culminating with Good Friday and Holy Saturday. Since Sundays are weekly celebrations of the resurrection of Jesus, the six Sundays in Lent are not counted as part of the forty-day season, which focuses on introspection, self examination, and repentance. Many Christians choose to celebrate a fast throughout the season of Lent, but the focus is not on depriving themselves of something as much as it is on devoting themselves to God and his purposes in the world.
Now is the perfect time to start this 46-day plan. I also intend to read the 7-day Story of Easter plan during the week leading to Easter Sunday.
Part of today’s reading includes Joel 2:13: “And rend your heart, and not your garments, and turn unto the Lord your God: for he is gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and of great kindness, and repenteth him of the evil.”
My Bible’s commentary had this to say:
The customary way a Jew showed his grief was to tear his outer garment. This external sign could be meaningless. The tearing of the outer garment is useless, unless the heart is broken in repentance and contrition.
It makes me think of this line from the Casting Crowns song Jesus, Friend of Sinners, which convicts me every time I hear it: “Oh Jesus, friend of sinners, break our hearts for what breaks yours.”
Do you celebrate the season of Lent, and if so, how?