Finding Mercy in Lent


Finding Mercy in Lent (2)I remember Lent from my childhood.My family did not attend church consistently and we did not particularly practice anything at home in honor of Lent. But the concept of Lent was real and recognized.  We chose something to give up during Lent.  Then we went to church on Easter Sunday in new dresses our mother had made for my sisters and me.I do not remember much spiritual significance in it.As I came to Christ in my teen years and later attended a less liturgical church, I mostly forgot about Lent.  But in recent years I have been reminded of what a treasure it is for my spiritual life.Yes, it can be a time to “give up” something: food, like sweets, or activities like social media or crossword puzzles.  These are not bad things, but the denying myself is a helpful spiritual practice.I’ve also found it is good to “add to” my life with a practice that also reminds me of all that Christ has added to my life.  So I might do a daily devotional, or give to a charity, or pray for particular people.  I always ask God to guide me.This year I am focusing on some disciplines that help me to care for God’s temple—that is, my body.So what is the real meaning of Lent? I think it is about reflection and preparation. Lent is a time to acknowledge repentance for sins in preparation for recognizing the truth of Bad Friday/Good Friday.That Friday was certainly a difficult day for our Savior as He took on Himself all our sins—the sins of the whole world—and was separated from His Father in paying the penalty for those sins.Good Friday represents great good news for us—our sins are washed away, forgiven, buried, paid for!!And then we celebrate.  Easter is the holiest day of all—Jesus overcame death and rose again to live forever—and to make the same available to us!Lent represents for me one of the most wonderful truths about our God—His mercy.  He hates our sin, and exacts a great penalty for it—death, separation from Him.  But His love and grace drove Him to provide a way for forgiveness, reconciliation, restoration—to offer mercy to each of us.His mercy flows through the entire Bible.  During Lent and in every season I recall the mercy so generously extended to me—and to you.When some action, attitude, thought, word or omission requires that I access that mercy once again, I remember “Kyrie eleison,” “Lord have mercy,” and He does. I love to say: He remembers my sin no more.  He has put my sin behind His back, buried it in the deepest sea, flung it as far as the East is from the West.  Oh thank You, Lord.Please join me in gratefully acknowledging and walking in His abundant mercy.“…to give his people the knowledge of salvation through the forgiveness of their sins because of the tender mercy of our God, by which the rising sun will come to us from heaven to shine on those living in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the path of peace.” What about you?  How you found mercy in Lent?C2015 Judy Douglass