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Rev. Dr. Cecil Clements,
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Home arrow Articles arrow A Case for Lent
A Case for Lent

“Mixed emotions” is an understatement when I think about the Cross.  I tend to run through a whole gamut of them—anger, disbelief, incredulity, sadness, grief and a host of others—when I focus my thoughts and attentions on the Cross.  A myriad images flood my mind, images that wrench at heart strings, images that make me wince, shut my eyes and wish I could not hear so clearly the brutal noises associated with the Cross.  I don’t know about you, but I often see vivid images in my mind’s eye that almost transport me back two thousand years to the point where I too am just a mute spectator to the most significant death of all time.  That is why this season of Lent is so meaningful.  It is so diametrically opposite to the wonder, awe and expectation of the Incarnation.


 In our understanding, the Advent season leading up to Christmas celebrates the birth of the God-Man.  The day when divinity broke into humanity and immortalized for all time, what “God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son…” really meant.  A time when “God became flesh and dwelt among us…” as John would later write.  A “descent” to accomplish and fulfill a task that would pave the way for “fallen, sinful” humanity to be transformed into “uplifted, redeemed” saints who could then boldly enter the “throne-room” of the King.  A time of Celebration, anticipation, hope and great expectations.  


But the shadow of the Cross, soon looms large over these joyous festivities.  The Cross, brutally planted on that dusty hill of Golgotha reminds me that the fulfillment of all those Advent expectations had a price.  A price that involved shame, suffering, humiliation, bloodshed and excruciating pain.  And that’s why I run the gamut of emotions when I think about the Cross.  Because every privilege I now have as a child of God was bought with a price.  I have access to Him because a broken body ended in a torn veil.  I experience forgiveness because precious blood was spilt that day at Calvary.  I seek healing because the Word reminds me that it is through “His stripes that…” I am healed.  And the list goes on, always reminding me that the Cross has, and must have tremendous significance to who I am and the Faith I espouse.


And that’s why I’m glad we have a period of Lent—a period of contemplation, a time for introspection—forty days (excluding Sundays) through which I can come to a greater understanding of all that Jesus endured for my sake.  And have a greater understanding of His love for me. And be challenged to pursue a life of purity.  To embrace the call to holiness.  To deal with pride and false humility.  To love others as He has loved me and to understand His love and His grace and His forgiveness.  Then, I can truly sing with understanding and heart-felt appreciation the song that Isaac Watts, the reformed slave trader wrote:

Were the whole realm of nature mine

That were an offering far too small

Love so amazing, so divine

Demands my soul, my life, my all.    


I pray that this period of Lent (March 5th-April 19th) will lead you on a path of discovery—discovering again the deep love of our Saviour for you, and through that understanding may you strive to live in love and intimacy with the Lord and in love and purity with the world, and say as the Apostle Paul said that your motivation is because “…the love of God constraineth me.”

Agapé

Pastor

 
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