Dr. Sachi Nakamura (JCFN Board Member, Christian Books Translator, Spiritual Director)
This year, Lent begins with Ash Wednesday on February 26th. Lent is a period of 40 days from Ash Wednesday to Easter. It is based on the 40days that Jesus spent in the wilderness. It is a time to prepare for the resurrection of the Lord by meditating on the suffering and death of Jesus through prayer and repentance, and good deeds for atonement.
Traditionally, the church has made Lent as a time of fasting from certain food such as meat or placing other dietary restrictions, or doing good deeds or practicing certain behaviors in moderation. As Lent approaches, you may start thinking, “what shall I let go of this year? Should it be sweets or SNS?” I think that whether you choose to restrict certain behavior or not is a matter between you and God. Ruth Haley-Burton at the Transformation Center in Chicago says this: The question we need to ask God during Lent should not be “what shall I let go of this year?” Rather, we should be asking “How shall I repent and how can I return to God from my heart?” and “Which areas in my life have I strayed from God? What practices will help me get back with God?”
Bible scholar Dr. Ransom Yamazaki says this;
“Lent is a time to remember and identify with Jesus Christ’s experience of spending 40 days in the wilderness. No matter how we choose to spend this period, the important thing is to deepen our awareness as God’s people and God’s children and to make our lives further rooted in Christ.”
Even if you have never done anything special for Lent in the past, maybe you can prepare for the resurrection of the Lord by reflecting on what may be hindering you from loving God and your neighbor, and seeking God’s guidance about it.”