Feb 17, 2009 by Howard Baker | 0 Comments
In many cultures there is an ancient custom of giving a tenth of each year's income to some holy use. For Christians, to observe the 40 days of Lent is to do the same thing with roughly a tenth of each year's days. After being baptized by John in the river Jordan, Jesus went off alone into the wilderness where he spent forty days asking himself the question what it meant to be Jesus. During Lent, Christians are supposed to ask one way or another what it means to be themselves.
If you had to bet everything you have on whether there is a God or whether there isn't, which side would get your money and why?
When you look at your face in the mirror, what do you see in it that you most like and what do you see in it that you most deplore?
If you had only one last message to leave to the handful of people who are most important to you you, what would it be in twenty-five words or less?
Of all the things you have done in your life, which is the one you would like to undo? Which is the one that makes you happiest to remember?
Is there any person in the world, or any cause, that, if circumstances called for it, you would be willing to die for?
If this were the last day of your life, what would you do with it?
To hear yourself try to answer questions like these is to begin to hear something not only of who you are but of both what you are becoming and what you are failing to become. It can be a pretty depressing business all in all, but if sackcloth and ashes are at the start of it, something like Easter may be at the end. (Frederich Buechner, Whistling in the Dark)
The Lenten season begins on Ash Wednesday (February 25 this year) and lasts for 40 days, not counting Sundays. My favorite devotional for Lent, you ask? Walter Wangerin's, Reliving the Passion because it immerses the reader/pray-er in the Greatest Story in a personal and intimate way.