Lent began on Ash Wednesday and continues now for 40 days, not including Sundays. It follows Jesus’ own experience of being led by the Spirit into the wilderness to fast for 40 days and nights, to be tempted by the devil three times and to resist each time, trusting in God and God’s word. This is connected to ancient and modern Lenten practices of fasting or “giving something up for Lent,” and the practice of confession, returning again and again to God’s mercy, acknowledging our falling into temptations, and trusting instead in Jesus, who knew temptation and remained faithful.
How will Lent bless you and others this year? Could it hold a fast that is less about giving up a simple pleasure and instead focuses on what we could give or take up to support those without bread; to stand with those oppressed by powers of this world; or to let go anything we worship over God? These are invitations to live the freedom Jesus embraces over the devil’s captivity. Words of confession and forgiveness in Evangelical Lutheran Worship say that we are captive to sin and cannot free ourselves, and(!) in the name of Jesus Christ, our sins are forgiven. Lent holds this hope for us all.
God, bless this Lent with freedom and new life for all in Christ Jesus. Amen. — LM