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Feb 18, 2015

Lent // Sacrifice, Preparation, + Reflection


this post was written for gt church's easter blog.  the blog will consist of weekly blog posts, scripture readings, and journal prompts in the weeks leading up to easter, and then daily posts through the week between palm sunday and easter.  subscribe to have the blog delivered to your email inbox here.

i grew up in a more liturgical church than the one i go to now.  somewhere in the midst of elementary school, i learned that the forty days leading up to easter, the lenten season, meant a time of giving something up.  i never really considered the why behind making a small sacrifice during that time, and while I observed the practice, it really signified nothing more than that i couldn’t eat ice cream (or whatever food item i had inevitably chosen) for the forty days. 

when my family started attending gt, i remember feeling some confusion over the lack of recognition of this season in the church calendar, but ultimately, i didn’t feel a huge sense of loss over it.  lent, after all, was just forty days to me.  while i was saved at a young age, the liturgical church calendar didn’t hold a big significance in my walk with christ, but was more of a way to measure the year. 

but as lent begins this year, i’ve found myself desiring to take time to intentionally prepare myself for the celebration of easter.  traditionally, lent covers a period of approximately six weeks leading up to easter sunday and is marked by practices of prayer, repentance, generosity (or almsgiving), and fasting.  while we at gt may not observe lent in the way that our more liturgical brothers & sisters do, i believe that this time of preparation is one that could be made more meaningful by adopting some of the traditional practices of the season.

prayer, fasting, and generosity are things that we should all be practicing regularly, and what better time to get into the habit of these practices than during the weeks leading up to the greatest sacrifice ever made?

maybe for you, it’s choosing something (like a food item or social media site) that you’d like to give up for the next forty days while you spend time in prayer instead of indulging in that specific thing.  perhaps find yourself a lent devotional, or follow along with us through the lenten season on our easter blog.  or possibly decide to live more generously in the next forty days.  whatever way you choose to observe lent this year, i pray that it will be out of a desire to grow closer to jesus, and not out of a sense of obligation.

throughout the month of march, gt church be unpacking some of the miracles of jesus as we prepare to consider the greatest miracle of all:  jesus’s death and resurrection.  join us on this journey to easter sunday, and spend these next few weeks growing closer to god through the wonder of the cross.  you can subscribe to get the weekly blog posts delivered to your email inbox here.  

6 comments:

  1. Betsy, this is so great. I've been going back and forth on whether or not I wanted to "give" something up for Lent. In past years I've done things to just do things and other years I've given something up that has really brought me closer to Jesus. Convicted by your words, I think this year I really just want to really focus on intentionality - with how I'm spending my time, money, and what I'm putting in my body. Thanks for sharing!

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  2. Love your words Betsy! I also grew up in a traditional church and always gave something up for Lent just because it was what we did. I've been thinking about Lent this morning, and this post was just what I needed. My goal for 2015 is to live more intentionally, and an area that I need to be better about is generosity. Thanks for giving me more to think about and focus on this Lent season!!!

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  3. In full disclosure yes, Lent to me growing up was all about what you were giving up. The true meaning of the season was lost. Even today, as you scroll through social media you see posts on what people are giving up. I don't see much on the true reason of the season. Great post!

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  4. Thanks Anne! Yeah, I honestly don't know how I'm going to observe Lent this year yet (this is my procrastination coming out!), but I know I want to be intentional about it!

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  5. Thanks Martha Kate! That's an awesome goal for the year! I am always trying to do that as well, but figuring out where to give your time and energy (because being intentional takes a LOT of time and energy!) is one of the hardest balances for me! Love that you are thinking about generosity.

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  6. Thanks Sarah! I totally hear the struggle! I am feeling that same question...do I give something up, or just make room in my life for God to work more? They're not mutually exclusive, of course, but I think my heart approaches each one in a different way.

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