Easter means that new starts are possible.
Archives For Lent
To pastors and seminarians he is N.T. Wright, the theologian a generation turns to for everything from resurrection apologetics to the New Perspective on Paul. But behind that academic density is the heart of a shepherd. This is best seen in his “For Everyone” set of New Testament commentaries. Here, Wright eschews his academic initials for the nickname Tom.
It’s Resurrection Season, so this will be my last post about Lent for about a year. However, I would be remiss to not recount two things I learned from the season.
1. We give things up for Lent because it leads us to Easter. Rather than indulging in what me missed during our fast, we seek to find this small part of our life resurrected. We give up what controls us through Lent so we can be free of it come Easter.
2. I failed at Lent, in a deep fundamental way. Posting on this site, Facebook and elsewhere what I had given up is a direct contradiction of Christ’s words on fasting. This cheapened my fast and misled others. My apologies.
LORD, you are the God who saves me;
day and night I cry out to you.
May my prayer come before you;
turn your ear to my cry.
I am overwhelmed with troubles
and my life draws near to death.
I am counted among those who go down to the pit;
I am like one without strength.
I am set apart with the dead,
like the slain who lie in the grave,
whom you remember no more,
who are cut off from your care.
You have put me in the lowest pit,
in the darkest depths.
Your wrath lies heavily on me;
you have overwhelmed me with all your waves.
You have taken from me my closest friends
and have made me repulsive to them.
I am confined and cannot escape;
my eyes are dim with grief.
I call to you, LORD, every day;
I spread out my hands to you.
Do you show your wonders to the dead?
Do their spirits rise up and praise you?
Is your love declared in the grave,
your faithfulness in Destruction?
Are your wonders known in the place of darkness,
or your righteous deeds in the land of oblivion?
But I cry to you for help, LORD;
in the morning my prayer comes before you.
Why, LORD, do you reject me
and hide your face from me?
From my youth I have suffered and been close to death;
I have borne your terrors and am in despair.
Your wrath has swept over me;
your terrors have destroyed me.
All day long they surround me like a flood;
they have completely engulfed me.
You have taken from me friend and neighbor—
darkness is my closest friend.
With Palm Sunday already come and gone, we’re on the home stretch. This has been a very long Lenten season.
Personally (and maybe here, too) I’ll spend the next week going through the gospels reading the texts about Jesus’ last week. For those of you still on Twitter, you’ll appreciate following @passionweek. For those of you with smart phones, I suggest using the Explore Faith app. Based on Phyllis Tickle’s The Divine Hours, it gives liturgical prayers to pray throughout the day.
Lent has taught me how how I make inconsequential things the center of my life. I’ve realized how bad I need resurrection. The there’s the fact that by attempting Lent, I’ve realized how wrongly I’ve approached it.
My goal now is to finish Lent strong. Dive further into the prayers. Stay true to the pledges of abstinence. Meditate on my role in Triumphal Entry, Jesus washing my feet, how I betrayed him. How my actions led to his death.
We need this season, because without it, we’d be too busy distracting ourselves from think about these things. But to truly embrace Jesus as our Savior, we must recognize ourself as his murderer.
As depressing as it might sound, let’s finish Lent strong. Because resurrection is coming.