A Prayer for Lent from 2 Thessalonians

Andrea di Bartolo. Way to Calvary. c. 1400

Andrea di Bartolo. Way to Calvary. c. 1400

We are in the season of Lent when our minds should turn to what God did for us in Jesus Christ. We slowly proceed through these weeks and approach the cross where our Lord went to die for sinners like you and me. We ought to reflect on what it means for the Son of God to even to enter our world and take on flesh. What does it mean that our God would sacrifice so much to endure a life like our own? Even more amazing is that he didn’t come to be served, but to serve, doing things you’d never expect like wash disciples’ feet–including one who was to betray him. Jesus then willingly walks the road of suffering to Golgotha in order to be a sacrifice for us, show himself in glory, and reveal his great love for us.

Lent being such a season, I can’t think of a more timely prayer for God’s people than the words of Paul from 2 Thessalonians 3:5:

May the Lord direct your hearts to the love of God and to the steadfastness of Christ.

God’s love is most clearly seen in Jesus Christ, who was steadfast in his obedience. May that be what holds our attention and captivates our heart in this time of preparation.

Recommendation for Lent on Ash Wednesday

Ash Wednesday - Carl Spitzweg, c.1855

Ash Wednesday – Carl Spitzweg, c.1855

People are often giving things up for Lent like chocolate or other foods. While this may not be a bad decision, Lent is to prepare us for Easter, and simply removing something like a candy bar may not get us to that goal. Instead of just taking something out and leaving that hole empty, fill it with something good. Give up something and then seek out a new habit to build up in these forty days.

For example, if you give up TV of Facebook, it doesn’t do you any good to sit around for an hour staring at the wall instead. Take that time to read the Word. If you’ve already been reading all of our reading plan for Year in the Bible, keep going. If not, join in. Join in today.

Since the week is half over, just read 1 Thessalonians. You could keep with the New Testament readings if you want to start slower. That’ll have you read 1 & 2 Thessalonians and finish with Revelation. That may not sound like a normal Lenten reading, but in Revelation we do see signs of the victory won by Jesus–a victory that he won on the cross. We finish the Bible on March 24th, which is a little bit before Easter, so you can use that last week to reread a gospel and focus your attention on the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ.

In summary: give up something, and fill it with Christ. May Lent be a great time of preparation for you. I hope it is a time when you carve out new space for Christ in your life.

PS – If you’re coming to our service tonight and have to errands to run today, think about putting them off until after the service. That way you can go out to the grocery store having been marked with ashes, as a sign of the season for others to see.