The Joy of Lent

The large African presbyter boomed “we are dust when we die! When I die no one will want my clothes! They will be useless! They’re too big for anyone else!” We all laughed at his bluntness and humor about such a difficult subject, but he was right. We all die in the end, are buried or burnt, and eventually return to the dust from whence we came. Lent is a stark, perhaps even bitter reminder of that.

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We are here one moment and gone the next. Life is fleeting. It is so easy to store up treasures in this life and forget the eternal promise of God. It is, in a moment of weakness, easy to forget the life we have in Christ, which is all together better than the things we can buy from Amazon or the corner store.

Of course there is goodness to be enjoyed and delighted in in this life. The love of friends and family, a well told joke, a comforting dinner, beautiful art, or a quiet afternoon in the sun. I suppose these are all slivers of heaven. Taste of the things to come. Glimpses of an unknown reality seen though a glass dimly.

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My African friend’s thesis was that we take things all together too seriously in this life. It should be filled with a considerably more joy. If we have Christ shouldn’t it be? Shouldn’t we laugh more? Forgive more? Delight more in the silvers and glimpses of the things to come?

It has been my impression that churches that get wrapped up in social issues, conservative or liberal, forget this and in fact forget to rejoice in our life in Christ. Losing focus on a Christ filled life, for some other issue, important or otherwise. Yet there is so much hope in the glimmering beauty of the things to come. So much hope in the things we see dimly now. It is sad to see this hope pale to lesser things. For even if we champion our cause, one day we will die and one day we will be buried or burnt, one day we will return to dust, and one day, we will meet our creator.

Lent comes and goes, and often we approach it with drudgery, approach it, not with joy, but sorrow. Yes, we should have sorrow for the sins we have committed, we mourn these daily, or perhaps hourly, but there is joy in too. For during this time we look forward to when these sins aren’t our master. Joy for the expectation of our life resurrected, not as we are, but as we will be, when all things are complete.

May this time of repentance be not only cleansing, but joyful for all who read this. Replacing the terrible yoke of sin, for the easy yoke of Christ.

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