Reflection from Rev Ken Connor
What is Lent?
‘Return to the LORD your God, for he is gracious and compassionate, slow
to anger and abounding in love.’ (Joel 2:13)
Lent is the six-week period leading up to Easter. It is one of the most important times of year for many Christians around the world, held at a similar level of importance to Advent – the build up to Christmas. While Advent is a celebration and a time of great anticipation, Lent is more frequently seen as a time of solemn observance and preparation for the celebration of the death and resurrection of Jesus at Easter. From its start on Ash Wednesday until its conclusion on Easter Sunday, Lent has been a traditional time for fasting or giving something up. Just as we carefully prepare for events in our personal lives, such as a wedding, or birthday; Lent invites us to carefully prepare our hearts and minds ready for remembering Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection.
The prophet Joel’s appeal to Judah was for the people to repent of their sins. Joel says to the people, “So, rend your heart,” and “return to the Lord your God.” Repentance is a change in your direction: a turning away from your sin, and a turning towards the Lord. Repentance must occur in the heart, for we read in Joel 2:12 that God says, “return to me with all your heart, with fasting and weeping and mourning.” Repentance, to be complete and genuine, must come from a whole heart: a heart of reverence for God, love for God; a heart influenced by the cross of Christ. Repentance
is not to be just a ritual. For ‘returning to the Lord’ is a personal decision to leave sin behind and come to God. It is a decision of the heart, one productive of good fruit. It may be accompanied by some open expression, but the essence of the matter lies in that it comes from the heart. So, this Lent, will you return to God with your whole heart, a heart filled with repentance and overflowing with love.
Heavenly Father be with me as I journey through this season of Lent, as I take time to prepare my hearts to celebrate the fulfilment of your promises on Easter Sunday. Amen