What Lent can mean to you

Today is Ash Wednesday. It starts the 40-day journey to Easter (excluding Sundays) that we call Lent.

Lent is a time of preparation. I like to think of it as spiritual training. It’s just so easy to let laziness creep into our faith. So we use Lent to hone our spiritual muscles as we get ready to celebrate the triumph of Easter.

But this first day of Lent has a special tone. It’s called Ash Wednesday.

When I was living in Toronto I went to an Ash Wednesday service where we had ashes put on our foreheads. Why? Because ashes are a symbol of mortality and repentance.

But it was actually the ride home on the subway that resonated with me the most. I was ASTOUNDED at how many other people had ashes on their foreheads too. It was so encouraging to see that many people bearing evidence of their faith.

Too often we think of faith only as a private thing. And it is private. But it’s also public. It impacts our words, decisions, and actions.

This Lent as a part of my spiritual training I’m going to be more public with my faith. I’m not talking about handing out pamphlets on the street corner while yelling “Repent, O Sinner!” (If that’s your thing I’m not judging you; but you may want to re-think your strategy.)

I’m simply talking about humble Christ-like confidence as you speak truthfully and act lovingly.

It’s a good idea in and of itself. But it’s also something more. Just how I was encouraged on the subway after that Ash Wednesday service, your example may bolster the faith of somebody else.

Speak truthfully and act lovingly.

2000 years ago in the days leading up to Easter, Peter denied knowing Jesus. Maybe it was too risky. “I don’t know him,” he said. When our turn comes, may we give a different reply.

Faith is private. But it’s also public. Why not use Lent to grow your humble Christ-like confidence?

Speak truthfully and act lovingly.

By Matthew Ruttan

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