I did not grow up observing Lent. I had no idea what it was.
In the little town I lived in as a child I don’t recall seeing foreheads with the marks of the ashen cross. I do remember that Easter was a big deal in my family and church. It was a joyous occasion marked by eggs and chocolate, church and a big Sunday dinner with extended family. It was special because I got new shoes, new dresses, hat and little pocket book. I loved the whole big to do about his resurrection in worship on Easter Sunday.
As I grew up I have always enjoyed Easter because it often meant new life, new hope, and new beginnings with the advent of springtime. Several years ago, I was serving a three church circuit in Randolph County. It was my first year there after moving from serving a good size church in Huntsville. I had left lots of friends, a good ministry, and a growing church to go serve a small rural area with no friends, a dying town, and an older congregation. The winter had been cold dark and cloudy. My best friends were more than two hours away. I was lonely, isolated and somewhat depressed.
It would be my first Easter sermon and Easter sunrise service. The sunrise service was on what was called Bald Rock and since I was the new Pastor in town it was my turn to preach. What would I say? What did God want me to say?
Bald Rock is a beautiful geological formation of a rock outcropping left by the movement of glaciers long ago. On that Easter Sunrise, it was cold, cloudy and drizzly. I thought to myself, some Easter Sunrise, no one is going to come. No one told me that people came home from far away on Easter Sunrise, just for that special service. And so we all who were there sang some songs, prayed and I preached. As I was preaching the sun began to peek in between the clouds, shining on the wet bald rock. It was like the sun rising on the first Easter morning so long ago when Jesus was resurrected.
So for me, Lent prepares me to be ready. God will show up again and not just on Easter morning. And the son will come peeking in between the clouds of my life.
I wrote this several years ago for a Lenton Devotional that Trinity did. This morning it appeared again in our Trending Trinity a weekly email. It is a cloudy, cold and snowy day today. This was the perfect article to read for such a day as we head into Easter through the dark week of Jesus' sufferings.