It’s Lent But Easter’s Coming!

Growing up in suburban Atlanta in the 1950s and 1960s, I recall how every Friday of each Spring, my family avoided eating out at a nearby fish restaurant (Rio Vista).  I was told it was because Catholics ate fish on Fridays due to something called Lent. And Rio Vista was always crowded on Fridays.

When I became a Christian in college, I started a journey of faith that still finds me seeking ways to grow in my relationship with God.  Over the years I have had the opportunity to worship in a variety of Christian styles from contemporary to traditional to liturgical. Initially, I was turned off by the more liturgical form of worship.  First impression?  Too structured, too ritualistic, too tempting to just go through the motions.  But as I matured in my faith, I began to appreciate the richness of the liturgical form of worship.  It was more than just a mindless repetition of rituals. Rather, it was an opportunity to be an active participant in the worship of the Lord.   Along with this newfound appreciation of liturgy was a better understanding of the church calendar, its various “seasons,” most notably the one called Lent.

Lent, I soon learned, was a lot more than just giving up meat on Fridays.  This season, like others on the Christian calendar, helps us to focus on the essential aspects of our faith in Jesus Christ, as we commit ourselves to a dedicated time of prayer, repentance, and preparation to celebrate the Resurrection of Christ.

While Lenten practices could be done at any time of the year, with Easter approaching, this season serves as a reminder of the need to humble ourselves, recognize God’s presence in our lives and savor anew the grace we receive through Christ. It is quite literally an annual spiritual pilgrimage to answer the invitation of Jesus to “Come unto me!”

In the first few years after I lost my wife to cancer in 2011, I found Lent to be a time of deep personal reflection.  I spent more time in solitude and silence seeking grace and comfort from the “God who is near the broken-hearted.” (Psalm 34:18).  Lent was more than just a time of renewal, it was one of healing.  With those thoughts in mind, I penned the following verses as a reminder that no matter where I find myself, there is always hope….because it may be Lent, but Easter is coming.

It’s Lent but Easter’s Coming

By Buddy McElhannon

It’s Lent
Convicted by my sinfulness,
Humbled by His holiness,
Ashes mark the dawn of repentance,
Now is my time to fast and pray.
It’s Lent, but Easter’s coming.

It’s Lent
My heart aches from failures past,
My eyes strain to see resurrection morning,
My ears yearn for the Alleluias to return,
My lips confess, He is God and I am not.
It’s Lent, but Easter’s coming.

It’s Lent
Living with less, denying myself,
Taking up the cross and following Him,
Renewal and reconciliation are but a confession away,
Confidently I approach the throne of grace.
It’s Lent, but Easter’s coming.

It’s Lent
Not a commandment imposed, but a journey embraced,
The Great Feast draws near,
The Paschal Mystery awaits,
The day of rejoicing will soon be here.
IT’S LENT, AND EASTER’S COMING!

 

 

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