Today is Ash Wednesday, the beginning of Lent. If you are a Baptist like me, this probably means little to you. For most Baptists this day is simply that Catholic thing that somehow involves fish. We know that it always precedes Easter and it is always kicked off by riotous partying in New Orleans on Mardi Gras.
So why does this Baptist wish to be better connected with Lent? Let me give you a few reasons.
1. Observing Lent connects me to Christian history.
We know that as early as the 4th century, Christians observed Lent. Just as we continue to celebrate Easter each year, Christians have continued to observe Lent.
2. Observing Lent connects me to other Christians.
Throughout the world those who bear the name of Christ, observe this season. It is not just a holiday in Rome. It is observed across the globe.
3. Observing Lent reminds me of the seasons of 40 in the Bible.
The Lenten season is 40 days prior to Easter. Throughout the Bible, 40 days is a period of testing.
4. Observing Lent reminds me of Jesus.
Jesus spent 40 days in the wilderness doing without. He did this in preparation for carrying out his redemptive mission on earth.
5. Observing Lent reminds me of my frailty.
I am far too consumed with myself. It is the idolatry of self that made a Savior necessary. On my own I am weak and frail.
6. Observing Lent heightens the message of Easter.
Lent ends with the passion of Christ and his glorious resurrection. Observing Lent allows us to experience the dramatic contrast between our frail selves and the resurrected Christ.