What is Lent?
14 Feb 2018, 9:09 a.m.
A Time Set Aside
Lent is a time that offers us an opportunity to reflect, wait on God and pray.
It reminds us of the time Jesus spent in the wilderness, it also reminds us of Christ's humanity in that He was tempted like us.
Like Advent, Lent is a time to open the doors of our hearts a little wider and understand our Lord a little deeper, so that when Good Friday and eventually Easter comes, it is not just another day at church but an opportunity to receive the overflowing of graces God has to offer. It is also a journey of self examination, a time of reflection and fasting.
Jesus was driven into the wilderness before He started His ministry. He listened to the still quiet voice; He remembered the blessings of the past and understood his need to rely upon God and God alone for the day at hand and for the days to come.
He finally understood who God had called him to be and what was required of him, not just in his head, but also in the nitty-gritty of actually facing trial and adversity and temptation on his own. When Jesus experienced the wilderness and its challenges, He was able to move back into the world fully equipped, understanding who He was.
In the loneliness of the wilderness Jesus discovered in his own experience that He was not really alone at all, with the aid of God's word, he was able to survive and in fact prosper no matter what the situation.
Sometimes when we are going through tough times we need to remember that we too are not alone.
The journey of Jesus is like our journey. This can be turned around, so as to say our journey is like that of Jesus.
How many times have we had experiences like his?
Filled with the Holy Spirit, we are determined to go forward with a new zest and commitment to serve God, we get excited and ready to take on the world after a special experience of God, a special blessing; and then the difficulties begin, the time of testing comes almost as if we are being driven into the wilderness.
The reality is that we, like Jesus, are tested whenever we try to truly serve God, to use our God given gifts, the enemy tries to discourage and pull us down. This may not happen immediately (though it usually does) but, despite appearances to the contrary, when the testing comes, it is a blessing if we let it be so. For the Holy Spirit is greater than he who is in the world.
I can only speak for myself... but when I have made it through a time in the wilderness, I have always felt stronger, more focused on what needs to be done, more able to help others - to love others - to do what God has called me to do.
I'm in a season of my life right now where there are a lot of changes going on. And I find myself, at moments, really tempted to worry, to fret, to fight against all the changes; but I am coming to realise if God is for us who can be against us.
Revd Elizabeth Knifton - Acorn's Chaplain