Why Lent is a journey we all should consider taking

As the time approached for him to be taken up to heaven, Jesus resolutely set out (set his face toward) for Jerusalem. – Luke 9:51

st-philips-ash-wedOkay, I understand that we are a diverse culture with a broad range of religious sensibilities; I recognize that there is no “one size fits all” path to enlightenment; I get that my journey is not necessarily your journey.

At the same time I doubt anyone can make a reasonable argument that the journey is not worth engaging, or that our great need as people is not – essentially – the same.

Wherever we find ourselves at this particular time, I would like to suggest that setting our sights on Easter, and walking the dusty road to Jerusalem, can be an important moment if we really are serious about faith as an ongoing decision and spiritual growth as an intention of the heart.

Fact is – and I am casting this net wider than merely those who see themselves as Christian – if ever there was a need for the season of Lent and a disposition of repentance, then that time is now. What we do when we find ourselves in Jerusalem and standing at the foot of the cross is not my focus in this post – what I am saying is that we all need to make our way there. Mostly a pilgrimage is about the journey, but without the initial setting out how does the pilgrim ever expect to make any progress?

Reaching Toward Easter

Ash Wednesday:

For me, Ash Wednesday marks a starting point, a recalibration, a setting of trajectory, a turning of my direction toward Jerusalem, and the cross, and eventually Easter morning. I find that I seldom appreciate the full meaning of Easter if I wait until Palm Sunday and the rush of Holy Week to prepare.

I don’t know where you are in your journey. You may not even be someone who follows Jesus. But I still recommend your engagement of the Pilgrim Way. How can you reject a message you have not fully explored? Besides, whatever decision you make when you finally arrive at Easter I can guarantee it will have been a pilgrimage worth taking.

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Christian? Non-believer? Adherent to another religion? Atheist? Here is what I believe: I believe that God will always respond with generous grace to the honest seeker who is not afraid to open their heart and their spirit.

So take Ash Wednesday as an opportunity to recalibrate, recognize the deep need our world has for repentance and grace, recognize your own deep need, and set your sights on Easter.

Peace on the journey, and hope for this world – DEREK

This video from a few years ago is a helpful introduction:

 

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Derek has published seven books in the past decade (you can find them at https://www.amazon.com/Derek-Maul/e/B001JS9WC4), and there’s always something new in the works.

Before becoming a full-time writer, Derek taught public school in Florida for eighteen years, including cutting-edge work with autistic children. He holds bachelor’s degrees in psychology and education from Stetson University and the University of West Florida.

Derek is active in teaching at his church: adult Sunday school, and a men’s Bible study/spiritual formation group. He enjoys the outdoors, traveling, photography, reading, cooking, playing guitar, and golf.

2 Comments Leave a comment

  1. “Mostly a pilgrimage is about the journey, but without the initial setting out how does the pilgrim ever expect to make any progress?” Yes! I love that. I am finishing Timothy Keller’s Prayer book and reading your post was like an A-ha! moment. We’re on a pilgrimage. I’ve been seeking information about how to have a better prayer life, a better conversation with God. Keller said prayer helps us know God and ourselves better. Every time I pray, I need to remember how I have that privilege through the great sacrifice made for us. I guess that means Easter is something to celebrate every day then. Keller pointed out that before Jesus people like Moses couldn’t look on God’s glory without dying. God had to make provision for Moses so he didn’t die in the presence of His glory. The grace of God we have to be in His presence is because of Jesus and the Holy Spirit within us. I look forward to reading your devotional. I was looking for something for reading before and during the Easter season.

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