“Now we begin the season of Lent, the time when—in anticipation of the great celebration of Easter—we tell the story of the suffering and death of Jesus for our sins and the sins of the world. It is a time when we, through intentional and particular reflection on the last weeks of Jesus’ life, tell the story of the gospel.
“First, it is a time when we tell the story of our need. We tell of our need for forgiveness of sins— and so Lent is a time of confession. We tell of our need for repentance in life—and so Lent is a time of self-denial. We tell of our need for resurrection from the dead—and so Lent is a time of reflection on mortality. Each of these is symbolized powerfully in the imposition of ashes—the humiliating sign of our own broken mortality. And we do this before the eyes of a culture that does not believe itself mortal and doomed to die.
“And yet we also tell the gospel story of Jesus’ work on our behalf. We tell of His work of forgiveness—and so Lent is a time to remember His willingness to forgive sinners. We tell of His work in enabling our repentance—and so Lent is a time to remember His power in our weakness. We tell of His work of raising the dead—and so Lent is a time to anticipate His resurrection from the dead. And we do this before the eyes of a culture that, even if it believes it needs a Savior, does not believe that it has one. And again, we do these things not to drown in our misery, or to secure God’s blessing through our self-denial, but because in Christ, these blessings are ours this day.
“So in celebrating Lent, here is what we are doing: We are coming together to tell the story of the gospel and to live that story out before ourselves, our children, and our neighbors—mourning together the sorrows of the world and, in time, celebrating the glory of the resurrection.”
*a day late, but it’s still worth sharing