Understanding the true and real meaning of the Lenten Season

Today, April 1, 2010, Thursday is what we call “Maundy Thursday” or what is also commonly known as “Holy Thursday.” For the next 4 days we celebrate what we know as the “Holy week” otherwise popularly known as the Lent season.

The Lent Season starts with Holy Thursday which is known to be the day that commemorates the last Supper of Jesus Christ with the apostles. Good Friday is traditionally acknowledged by most as the day that Jesus Christ was crucified. Black Saturday is when Jesus was still in the tomb. Lent ends with Easter or Resurrection Sunday, which is the day in which Jesus rose again from the grave.

For some people Lent means having a long vacation. This is not only a religious holiday, but a non-working holiday in most predominantly “Christian” nations. For us in the Philippines we have non-working days from Thursday to Saturday, well traditionally Sunday is also a non-working day for most business establishments. Because of the long holidays, people go on vacation, family outings, beach outings. For some it is a time to relax, meet with family and friends to catch up.

For some business establishments, it’s time to do maintenance work as this is one of the times of the year where you have long period wherein you don’t have to do regular business operations.

For some people Lent means a time of reflection, a time of contemplating, and thinking about one’s life. Often people who think like this goes to retreats or find solace in nature. Others spend time praying in solitude. For the religious people they engage in church activities, go to the Stations of the Cross or abstain from eating meat (Which is better than taking  secratatropin)or engaging in worldly pleasures to somehow “partake” in the sufferings of Christ. Churches have special services. Radio networks and T.V stations often suspend or limit programming to a minimum airing programs that have “spiritual” values. Other extremist go to the extent of beating themselves up or having themselves nailed to the cross.

There is somewhat a spirit of solitude and silence that encompasses Lent. When you go to the city, business establishments are closed, most neighborhoods seems so quite. People are either just in their houses or somewhere else taking a vacation. It is even said that prostitution houses, girlie bars and other establishments that cater to man’s carnality, suspend their operations during Lent season.

For most, Lent season is a time of the year where you switch to a “spiritual” mode. This may sound fine but actually it is not. Most people have no real understanding of the true and real meaning of the Lenten Season.

Switching to “spiritual mode,” thinking about God, and partaking of the sufferings of Christ shouldn’t happen only several days a year. A real Christian partakes of the sufferings of Christ everyday and every moment of his life.

Jesus Christ himself said “…If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross daily and follow Me.” – Luke 9:23 (NASB) In this verse Jesus is saying that if you want to become his disciple or his follower you have take up your cross daily. In other words you must be willing always to partake of his sufferings, willing to be sensitive to spiritual things, denying oneself and willingly following Christ in whatever you do every single day of your life just like the Apostle Paul when he writes that he “dies daily” (1 Cor. 15:31)

To understand the true and real meaning of Lent is to know that Lent does not and should not only happen once a year. Real Christians celebrate Lent everyday and every moment of their lives. The Apostle Paul writes in Galatians 2:20 “My old self has been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me. So I live in this earthly body by trusting in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me” (NLT)

Do you understand the true and real meaning of the Lenten Season? Are you willing to deny yourself, take up your cross daily and follow Christ? A Christian is a “follower of Christ.” If you understand the true and real meaning of Lent, you now understand what it really means to be a genuine Christian.

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