The Season of Lent
By Zahra Ben Sabeur Tobar
Every year our Bishop Reding community gathers together to participate in the Ash Wednesday liturgy. For many of us we go through the liturgy without truly reflecting on the importance of this date, and how it is an impactful part of the development of our faith. Ash Wednesday marks the beginning of a season of reconciliation, renewal, and restoration for all of us, both physically and spiritually. This season is formally known as Lent. A season gifted to us as a way to create change in our lives, let us discuss how we can take advantage, and why we celebrate this season.
The first ‘R’ is reconciliation, and the beginning of the Lenten season. Ash Wednesday comes with the humbling practice of marking our foreheads with ashes in the shape of a cross. The moment in which we mark ourselves with ashes, we sorrow and mourn over our sins, but most importantly we recognize them. Sin comes with being human, however it is easy to live in denial
and ignore our sins. The ashes are a reminder of our sins. We wear them all day, making them no longer private to our minds, but are now available for all to see. When we wear our ashes, we reconcile and repent from our burdens.
Renewal, follows our act of repentance. Lent is a 40 day period in which we fast and prepare ourselves for Easter. Yet, I see it as much more than preparation for a singular day. Our 40 day fast is us mimicking the way of Jesus, and preparing ourselves for the struggles that may come in the future. Before beginning his public ministry, Jesus fasted and prayed for 40 days in the desert. Likewise, we fast and pray for 40 days to be able to put out our best foot forward in our own ministry. I use the word ministry, because everything we do, we do to honour and glorify God. Ministry is not limited to the church; it expands to every area of our lives, and refers to whatever we do as a form of worship. Whether that is being a student, an athlete, or an employee, we fast and pray to be able to do our best with the God-given abilities we have.
The Lenten season ends on Easter Sunday, and marks our restoration. On Easter Sunday Jesus was raised from the dead in a new and heavenly blessed body. As he was restored to his full glory, at the end of the Lenten season we should also find ourselves strengthened, mentally, physically and spiritually. The reconciliation that occurs the moment we admit to our sins on Ash Wednesday, and carry throughout Lent as we fast from our pleasures, is the reason why we are resorted mentally. The practice of fasting revives our body, by getting rid of toxins and refurbishes our immune system, is why our body is strengthened. Lastly and most importantly, Lent is a period in which we are connected to God without other distractions. During Lent, we are called to never seize our prayer, for God speaks to us the most clearly when we are devoted to Him at all times, thus restoring us spiritually.
In a time where our world needs restoration more than ever, I encourage you to practice Lent with a new perspective this year. As individuals, we all seek strength and revival, in this season of Lent practice the three ‘Rs’, reconcile your relationship with God by admitting to your faults. Renew your definition of ministry by finding your perspective in God. Do this and you will find the last “R”, restoration, because, “The eyes of the LORD range throughout the earth to strengthen those whose hearts are fully committed to him” (2 Chronicles 16:9). Discover what Lent is to you, by committing yourself to this lenten season.