A brief Google search will tell you this:

Baptists have a complicated relationship with Lent. 

Tintoretto, 1550 A.D. [Public Domain, Wikimedia Commons]

Tintoretto, 1550 A.D. [Public Domain, Wikimedia Commons]

With hints of hierarchical pre-reformation church hovering around it, Lent can seem like the antithesis to relational faith. Rescued by grace, the traditional rigours of Lent might look like nothing more than giant step back into legalism.

Yet, choosing to dismiss Lent altogether also means that we risk missing its value. Lent is one way of understanding what Jesus has done for us. When we observe Lent, we have the chance to pause and think. Imagine a world without the love and sacrifice of Jesus. Yet unredeemed, we would still be under the law. Most of us, as gentiles, would still be outsiders of the Kingdom, or altogether unaware of the God who created everything.  We would be without hope, lost both to ourselves and to our Creator, still milling about in the outer courts.

Taking time to reflect on a life without Jesus brings with it the ability to consider anew the gift of Good Friday. We remember that our rescue wasn’t easy or painless. We remember that we are weak and broken creatures, so often full of fear and vengeance. And yet, despite all this, we are loved more than we can fathom.

Giving something up for Lent isn’t the end that we seek. Rather it is a means to create a touch point, so that whenever it pinches we remember what we have been given – a gift so free that we often take it for granted.

We are invited during Lent to remember the sacrifice of Jesus, but also to reconnect with a reality that we can forget to marvel at. Jesus did come. He did die for us. He did tear the curtain that separated us from our Father.

Perhaps Lent isn’t something that your church family would like to celebrate. But even if it isn’t, we hope that the gift that is the love, death and resurrection of Jesus will fill you with hope as you journey toward Easter.

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2 Responses to The Lenten Baptist?

  1. Marlene says:

    A nice way to reframe the importance of observing Lent, not by relinquishing something for its own merit, but at least by allowing something to be a reminder of the debt of gratitude that we owe for the love that has been shown to us in Jesus’ death.

  2. Ray Dickens says:

    I received this email on Wednesday, March 5th. For the past two years our Church has gathered with a United Church and a Presbyterian Church in our immediate area to observe Ash Wednesday. Our focus has not been on the rituals of the past but rather on sharing the elements of our faith with each other. The focus is Christ and what He has done for us and the Lenten season brings us face to face with our inadequacies and His sufficiency.

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