Saturday, March 22, 2008

The Easter Build-Up

I was commenting to my wife recently that Easter has always been a struggle for me emotionally. Every time Easter rolls around, it seems to catch me by surprise, almost as if I stumbled upon it by accident. I feel like I should be more emotionally moved and reflective about the event we are celebrating--arguably the most significant event in all of human history. Unlike the other major Christian holiday centered around Jesus, there is no month-long buildup to Easter to remind me of its importance.

Or is there?

It's called "Lent."

Regrettably, I have never taken Lent seriously. Lent is a 40-day long season of fasting and prayer in preparation for the holiest of weekends. None of the churches I've been at have celebrated Lent as a community. My only real experience with Lent was during my four years at a private Catholic high school--and because none of my Catholic friends could explain why they were smearing ashes on their face or stopped eating meat, I didn't bother participating.

I am starting to realize that traditions and disciplines--when explained, then acted upon with purposeful reflection--can be beautiful acts of worship in response to who Jesus is and what He has done for us. I cognitively recognize the significance of Jesus' death and resurrection; but am I willing to reflect upon it for 40 days? Am I willing to let myself go there emotionally, even physically, through fasting and prayer and contemplation? I pray that next year I will.

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