The traditional season of Lent begins. Lent is a season when in services, sermons and Bible study, among other themes of repentance and sacrifice, we focus on becoming Christ-like. To become Christ-like is not to become “nicer”, or more politically correct, or more “inclusive”. To become Christ-like is to love other so much that we want to help others both physically and Spiritually. Being more Christ-like means telling the truth even when that is unpopular.
The gospel writers Matthew, Mark and Luke present Jesus’ journey toward Jerusalem as an invitation for us to join Jesus on the way. According to Luke’s gospel, immediately after Jesus ‘set his face to go to Jerusalem’ (9:51) we learn of three men for various reasons did not follow Jesus on the journey. Luke’s question for us, therefore, is will we follow Jesus on the way to Jerusalem, or do we have other more urgent tasks to attend to?
Lent provides an occasion for us to mend broken relationships and build new ones and the opportunity to right the wrongs of both past and present. Various practices of self-imposed limitations and restraint are usually exercised during Lent. These include missing food for a day, giving up unhealthy habits, foregoing some level of comfort and luxury,or giving up certain foods and drinks. The motivation for such self-imposed limitations is quite noble – it is not simply an inward journey of desiring to be more Christ-like, but also an outward journey of being an agent of God’s love and compassion to a world that is hurting.