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:: Sunday, March 09, 2003 ::

It fascinates me how many people in the "emerging church" discussion are celebrating the Lenten part of the church calendar. It seems that we only really worry about Lent and Advent (which we do not use as a time of fasting and penance at all but instead gorge ourselves in our "Christmas (oh, excuse me,) Holiday Season"). We don't focus on Easter season, Pentecost, Epiphany, and the real "Christmas Season".

And then again, our views of Lent seem to tend to ignore the idea of grace and hope even in the midst of our times of discipline. Today's Gospel reading was on the baptism of Jesus in Mark 1:9 - 13. Baptism is death to our old life. It is death to sin. It is repentance. It is renunciation of all affiliation with evil.

But it is also new life. It is also the grace of God saying, "in Christ you are my Sons and Daughters, my beloved: I am absolutely delighted with you." Even in our discipline to put off the old self we must remember that we are also in the process of "putting on Christ." This is why we celebrate Lent. Discipline, yes. Repentance, always. Remembrance of our mortality, for sure. Solidarity with Christ in the journey of shadow of the Cross, all the way. Even so, we always approach discipline with an attitude of celebration that somehow, even though there is pain in discipline, we are putting on new life, life more vital than we have ever seen before.

Yes, this is why I celebrate Lent. I joyfully engage in disciplines that will help me to put Christ on more fully even while I put off the old nature with its practices.

Thanks be to God!

:: Matt 3/09/2003 09:58:00 PM :: permalink :: ::
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