Are you ready for Easter? Well, Easter is coming but first we begin our season of Lent. And what exactly is Lent and what does it mean?
Lent is when Christians around the world commemorate the 40 days Jesus spent in the wilderness, fasting and getting tempted by Satan. Many Christians will participate in these forty days by either fasting or giving up something for the time period.
So, what is the purpose of Lent?
Well the purpose is prayer, fasting (or abstaining from something) and charity. Those are three things that we need to focus on for Lent. That is the reason why in our church we are preparing the One Great Hour of Sharing by participating in a fun Lent calendar that we give a little each day, so that we can practice charity during this time. Now every individual will have to think about what they want to give up during Lent. But what is the point of abstaining from something or fasting?
The whole idea, in my opinion, is our acknowledgement on our dependence on God. You see when you give up something or fast you create this void in yourself. You once tie filled it with something, whether it be food, alcohol, tobacco, drugs, or even television, sweets, internet, or your cell phone. But during Lent, we give up that thing and now what is left is just an empty space.
It’s funny because for Lent I decided to give up two things. First one is sweets, and the next thing is meaningless cell phone browsing. So basically, I just want to use my cell phone to answer and make phone calls and texts, and that is all, I’m not even doing emails on it. No watching videos, playing games, browsing through pictures, YouTube, and Google.
So, hence, now I have this void. And I find myself ever so vulnerable. Especially, when I am just wanting to relax or feel bored. I normally would go straight to my phone, but now I have nothing, it’s just the quiet stillness of empty space.
Now, I realize that the point of Lent is for God to occupy that empty space that is in me. But how does this happen? Do I just sit here and wait for God to come into my void, my emptiness, this once occupied “cell phone” space? What am I supposed to do because I am starting to feel anxious!
And this is when it is importance for us to prepare that space for God! It’s kind of like having my 6-month-old, 60lb yellow lab. She’s a puppy, a big puppy, but still a puppy. We have trained her to be easy in the house and given her the space to explore safely. Now, she has “her” space. This is the space that she knows that she enters when we go upstairs to sleep, or when we leave the house for work. It’s not a crate. But it is basically the living room space.
But this living room space needed to be suitable for her. I just cannot force her or order her to stay there while we go somewhere else. I need to prepare that space for her, so that she can feel comfortable and happy. So, I bought a big doggy bed, so she doesn’t have to climb up on the furniture. I gave her three cozy blankets that she can play and cuddle with, while we are away. I gave her a ton of toys that she can play with. Basically, this is her space. And because I prepared a good space for her, she is comfortable entering this space, willingly and naturally.
I think we must do the same for God during our practice of Lent. Even though we give up something, we cannot just expect God to just come in and occupy this void. It is our responsibility to occupy that void with things that God can enter in order to show God that we are ready for Him. So that void, empty space that is left in us because we gave it up for Lent, must be filled with things that invites God into our life.
It means that we have to prepare our minds and hearts to the things that God would want. Lent is all about prayer, so maybe first we work on prayer. I m a pastor, so it is easy for me to begin my day and end my day with a lengthy time of prayer. And I understand that for most people this is not [possible. But if you can spend just five minutes a day for prayer that would be a start. Maybe it’s also about getting into the word of God, the Bible. I know you will ask me, but where do I start? And I tell you to start in three books at the same time. Begin with the Book of Matthew, Romans, and Exodus (but start at chapter 2). You don’t have to put a timeline to finish all three, but I do recommend reading all three simultaneously, and just a little by little. Maybe read one chapter from each book. That is a healthy start,. And maybe the other thing we can do to prepare God to come into our empty space to give more the next 40 days. Be charitable because it shows our willingness to try to be more Christlike.
So that is it! We gave something up, like in my case, “my phone,” and we have this void of space. So now to prepare God to enter this space, we will make it inviting to God by praying more, reading scripture, and being more charitable. I think by doing these three things, we are letting God know that we are ready for Him to be in our lives.
I hope everyone has a great eye-opening experience during Lent. I hope that we can prepare God the room in our life. And just so you know….
If you can’t make room for God, in the three ways I suggested, don’t feel too down. God is never going to love you less. Always remember God loves you so much and that God is waiting for you and cannot wait to be with you. Remember that God loves you so much that He was willing to die on the cross for you (through Jesus), regardless if you believe in Him or not, that is what He did. He loves you unconditionally, always and forever.
Hey this is Rev. Brian Choi's random thought throughout my week. Most of this stuff, will probably be about family, church, fishing, music, movies, food, whatever I think of, hopefully it will have some sort of theological reflection (maybe).