Get Ready!

In Lent 24 by Bruce LogueLeave a Comment

‘Prepare the way for the Lord’s coming! Clear the road for him! …The curves will be straightened, and the rough places made smooth. And then all people will see the salvation sent from God.

The crowds asked, “What should we do?” John replied, “If you have two shirts, give one to the poor. If you have food, share it with those who are hungry.”

In the late 300’s CE, Lent was observed as a period of time set aside as an occasion of preparation for baptism. The idea was that one should not be baptized and begin a life of following Jesus without first considering what baptism meant and what life changes should accompany this momentous occasion.

“Preparation” was also the goal to which John the Baptist enjoined those coming to him. “Prepare the way of the Lord,” he cried out. “Produce the fruit of a new life…if you have two coats, share one of them with someone who has no coat.” Live a changed life, John was telling the new disciples.

Lent as it exists today is not the ancient call of John the Baptist nor today’s season of preparation for baptism, but it is a time for considering and implementing what characterizes a life that imitates the life of Jesus. For the 40 days before Easter, we are taken deeply into the call of Jesus to “repent for the Kingdom of God has come near; repent and believe in the good news.” Mark 1:15.

Not a new year’s resolution nor a list from a self-help book, the call of Christ to us is to change by conviction and intention. This is not Jenny Craig, a new year’s yoga class, nor a new gym membership. Lent is more like remodeling an entire house. Lent gives us the time and resources to “repent for the Kingdom of God has come near.”

Something to think about: What is your biggest challenge to undertaking the kind of renovation of one’s life to which both Jesus and John the Baptist call us?

Something to pray about: O God, we live in a “new year’s resolution” kind of world. Give us the usual 12 days of good intentions, and then we’re off to something new or old. Please help us to take your call to repent and follow you seriously in a way that is more honest and intentional than any other “resolution” we humans so blithely make. In this season of Lent, give us strength and resolve to follow you. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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