Gateway Friends -

What's special about today?  Depending on your upbringing and church background, the season leading up to Easter may be a familiar one, or a completely new one.  I grew up going to church on Easter, but didn't realize the significance of the days and weeks leading up to this special day.  Traditions are important for the church if they serve a purpose.  Here's a brief explanation for Lent and Ash Wednesday. 

ASH WEDNESDAY / A day of fasting, is the first day of Lent.  It derives its name from the practice of blessing ashes made from palm branches blessed on the previous year’s Palm Sunday, and placing them on the heads of participants to the accompaniment of the words “Repent, and believe in the Gospel” or “Remember that you are dust, and to dust you shall return” (Genesis 3:19).

LENT / Forty days leading up to Easter (Monday-Saturday, Sunday represents rest). The purpose of Lent is the preparation of the believer through prayer, repentance of sins, and self-denial.

LENT gives us an opportunity and a reason to expose the parts of our lives that, in most circumstances, we’d rather leave covered up.  We know, as Christians, we don’t need Lent to come to Jesus and expose and repent from our sin.  We can do that any day of the year and know that Jesus hears our cry and forgives our sin.  But Lent begs us to drag our full self out of the darkness of our everyday world and walk confidently into the light, while identifying to the best of our ability, with Jesus every step of the way.                                                                                                                                                                                                                           LENT isn’t to be observed only by traditional thinking Christians or devout Catholics.  Lent should be observed by any and all who believe in Jesus, possibly by making significant sacrifices over the course of the next 40 days.  Lent is about drawing near to God through acknowledging the life of Jesus who came to earth to sacrifice and die so we may be saved.

Will you join me and many of the GATEWAY Leaders for this season of Lent?  If you plan to participate this year, tell someone, not boastfully, but there’s nothing like some good ol’ accountability.  If you plan to use social media during the Lent season, we’d love to hear what you’re giving up this season and how the 40 days are going.  You can let us know by using #GatewayLent.

Let’s journey toward Easter together through reading Scripture and prayer, through giving something up in order that we may encounter Jesus deeper, and through letting the transformation that happens be light to those in our lives each day.

On the journey,

Greg