“There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.”
1 John 4:18
My forty days of reflection has begun with the beginning of the Lenten season. Some people will announce what they are doing for the Feast of Reflection, some will not give the Fast of Sacrifice a second thought, and others will wonder what all this Christian hokey pokey is about. Well turn yourself around and I’ll tell you.
Isa. 58:6-8 “Is not this the fast that I have chosen? to loose the bands of wickedness, to undo the heavy burdens, and to let the oppressed go free, and that ye break every yoke?
Is it not to deal thy bread to the hungry, and that thou bring the poor that are cast out to thy house? when thou seest the naked, that thou cover him; and that thou hide not thyself from thine own flesh?
Then shall thy light break forth as the morning, and thine health shall spring forth speedily: and thy righteousness shall go before thee; the glory of the LORD shall be thy reward.”
Lent, just like Advent is a highly misunderstood Holy Time of the year. Many people assume it is just something Catholics partake in and it’s a ritual they WON’T take part in. Some people will tout that they reflect and sacrifice all year so they won’t partake but I’m here to tell you, it is SO much more!
Lent is a forty-day period of prayer, penance and fasting. It is a season of sacrifice, spiritual exercise and renewal. My season begins on Ash Wednesday and lasts until Easter Sunday the day I celebrate my New Year and my spirit is mentally refreshed and healed.
Sacrifice – It can also mean fasting, not always celebrated with the refusal of meat, unless meat is a hindrance in your life. Sacrifice means to give up something that is hindering your spiritual growth. To REALLY sacrifice is not hiding on days you feel like it and slipping into old routines because no one is watching. Can you imagine giving up politics, hate and judging of people like blacks, Jews, Christians and yes even Muslims for forty-days? Imagine giving up Social Walls for forty-days. Giving up sex for forty-days. There are so many things YOU can give up and sacrifice for your Lord.
This sacrifice is all about YOU and God! A forty-day sacrifice is extremely hard and grueling, sometimes painful and feels like it is punishment but this is the LEAST we can do for a man we believe was whipped and had skin shredded, falling off the bone and hung on the cross for US!
Prayer – This isn’t the normal prayer you pray when someone says they need prayer and you say, ‘praying’. This season of prayer is deep meditative prayer for YOU, for all you hate, for all you judge, for strength in lasting forty-days. This is a cleansing prayer feast between you and God.
Renewal – After the season is over and you awake on Easter Sunday there is a refreshing, honorable feeling that overwhelms you knowing you made it the forty-days without fail. That is the secret. Not failing. We fail all year but in these forty days WE DO NOT FAIL! That is where the sacrifice, prayer and renewal of spirit comes from and washes over as if you yourself bathed in the river Jordan.
My prayer for you is to know and understand what this season is all about. I pray that you know and understand the true meaning of sacrifice and that you see and feel internal growth by the Rising of the Lord.
May God walk with you all and bless you in more ways than one!
Because I am loved by God… I can be grateful for another day of life.
1 John 4:19 “We love him, because he first loved us.”