Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Lent = Spring!

As Ben and I sat at McDonald's today, I happened to remember that it was Ash Wednesday. So, I started to explain what little I knew about Ash Wednesday and Lent to Benjamin. Basically I explained that those who practice lent put ash on their foreheads as a sign of repentance and compared it to Mordecai's fast in the book of Esther and how he covered himself in ashes to show his grief. Then explained that the people give up something for 40 days to help them remember Jesus' sacrifice of dying on the cross so that they would be ready for Easter morning.
Benjamin's immediate response was, "Can I do that?" I asked what he would give up and he started a long list of electronics - T.V., games, computer....and I said "Wait! You don't want to make it too hard, forty days is a long time!" What was I thinking??? I'm not sure why my first impulse was to discourage him. After all, sacrifice is part of the lesson, right? Right? What exactly is Lent anyway???

Soon after that, Ben ran off to play on the playground. I began wondering how in the world we are going to practice Lent since I know little to nothing about it?!? Then Amy W. called. "Oh!", I thought with relief, "someone who knows about lent and can help me!" When we talked, she handed the phone to Jay and he graciously explained Lent to this Baptist girl. (All mistakes are my own, not Jay's! So, correct me if I get this wrong.) Lent literally means Spring. Oh! I get it (maybe...). Spring, renewal, reconciliation. A time of listening to that still, small voice. Jay called it a time of re-examining, the focus being not on what you give up but upon learning about Christ's ministry and death on the cross. Like Advent is preparing for the celebration of Christ's birth, Lent is preparing for the celebration of His resurrection Whew! I can do this!

At Jay's suggestion we started today by reading in Matthew 4 about the temptation of Jesus. First thing Benjamin noticed was that Jesus fasted for 40 days too! (okay, not sure I get the count of 40 days - it's actually 46, I think, but we don't count Sundays?? Where is Jay when you need him?? LOL) We talked about how important it is to know scripture so that when we're tempted we can respond like Jesus did. We also discussed that if Satan would tempt Jesus, he will tempt us too. I'm always amazed at what Ben picks up on as we study the Bible together. So, as we give up what Ben calls electronics, together we'll be spending that time learning. It may be tough. I will only be using the computer to do the book reviews I need to do to keep that commitment or for research that I need for school. (Ben also approved me blogging about Lent. ha!) No T.V. - Ben assured me that the Olympics weren't that big of a deal. I can't wait to see what Ben and God teach me in the next 40 days!


amy wright said...

Sandra, this makes me so excited. I love Ben's heart. Not many kids would give up "electronics" for a thing called Lent that they just heard of. You and Mark are such great parents and have kids with some pretty special hearts. I, too, can't wait to hear what God does in y'all through this season.

Jay said...

Sandra - this is so awesome. I know you guys will be blessed because you are putting yourselves in a posture to receive from the Lord.
Follow this link in the next couple of days, and our church's Ash Wednesday sermon should be available to listen. Our pastor always sums up the purpose and blessing of Lent so well, and he did it particularly well tonight.

Becky Dietz said...

Well...Benjamin & I are experiencing a "first" together! This is my first time to participate in Lent. I remember some good Catholic kids coming to school with ashes on their forehead and thought that was so cool. And wondered why I didn't get to do that. We've missed out on a lot of good teaching, huh?