by Dr. Linda Brupbacher
Yesterday was Ash Wednesday, the official beginning of Lent in many Christian faith traditions. Unlike many Baptists, I “do Lent.” I’m not sure when it started or how it happened, but Lent has become one of the most meaningful parts of my faith journey: a period of needed, intentional, personal and spiritual growth.
Lent, the 40 days before Easter (excluding Sundays), is a time set aside in the Christian calendar for personal self-examination and intentional spiritual renewal and growth. Different Christians observe Lent in different ways. Jesus went into the wilderness for 40 days to prepare for his ministry, and he spent time in the garden before his trial and crucifixion. Both times, he took time to think, to pray and to prepare for what lay ahead. This model, His model, provides much of the basis for how I do Lent.
I try to objectively look at who I am and how I’m living my life – then figure out something that I can and should do to move closer to being the person God wants me to be. Whatever it is, I commit to doing that for the 40 days of Lent. Sometimes I pick a particular Bible or book study to do during Lent. This year I am reinstituting a daily quiet time using Show Me the Way: Daily Lenten Readings by Henri Nouwen.
Forty days is a long time—some say long enough to establish a habit. And, it is short enough to make a commitment and stick to it—without feeling overwhelmed. This process works for me–so much so that I can honestly say, “I don’t just do Lent; I need Lent. “ For me, observing Lent is an important, needed, growth experience: one that I highly recommend. Perhaps this is a year when you might consider ”doing Lent.”