Watch the Lamb
Today is Ash Wednesday, the first day of the liturgical season of Lent. It’s a time of year in which Christians from all over the world and from all sorts of different traditions observe the 40 days leading up to the crucifixion by taking a journey of penance and self-reflection. Commonly a person will observe the season by giving up something good in their life in order to focus their time, attention, and desires on Christ instead. Traditionally this has been in the form of some sort of fasting, most often from food, but increasingly over the years from other indulgences and creature comforts that may be innocent in and of themselves, but which have the tendency to take our attention away from Jesus.
This year at TBC we are spending our Lenten season (and probably the Easter season as well) working through the book of Revelation in a series we are calling “Watch the Lamb.” During this series we will be encouraging you to fix your eyes on Jesus and to watch and see the ways he is presented in that book, and the way that his revelation to John becomes a lens for us to see him better in our world today. And during the season of Lent, if you are struggling to figure out an appropriate discipline to mark the season may I encourage you to choose something that will help you Watch the Lamb more clearly?
What I mean is this: As beneficial as something like giving up chocolate, or fasting one meal per day, or coming off of social media can be (and you already know how beneficial that last one is if you were with us for our “Facebook and the Fall” series in September), if those reclaimed moments or longings are not then redirected toward time with Christ—then they become little more than training in self-discipline (which has legitimate value) and they lose their spiritual power. Perhaps that means that rather than giving something up that you love (remember, that Lent is not about giving up sin—you don’t wait for Lent to stop sinning), think about taking up something that helps you focus more on Jesus. Or if you’re feeling ambitious this year, take up something in addition to giving up something. The goal should be Jesus, not anything else that might come as an ancillary benefit of the discipline.
This year, in addition to giving up watching hockey for Lent (my sacrifice in a year that I just know the Leafs are going to win it all!), I am going to be (on the wise suggestion of my wife) taking up the discipline of morning walks. I’m committing to going for a walk, outside, every morning without headphones or distractions, just to be with Jesus and to help me see him more clearly at the start of my day. It doesn’t have to be much, but it just has to be something that will help you watch the lamb.
What are you going to do to see Jesus more clearly this year?