This is the season of Lent, in Roman Catholic, Lutheran, Anglican and Methodist churches. Many use Lent as a time to reflect on the Cross. Many evangelicals repudiate it as being to “catholic”. I recently heard a broadcast in which the speaker suggested the same consideration in the preparation for Easter as is given to the preparation for Christmas, pleading that there was more Biblical warrant for the remembrance of Jesus’ death than for his birth. While not implying for a moment that the Incarnation takes a second place to the Atonement, commercialism aside, the argument was adduced that more preparation is made for Christmas. Why not for Easter? Why not for “Holy Week”? After all, in some traditions there are celebrations for Maundy Thursday, Good Friday as well as Easter (sunrise services) and Easter worship service. Why not lent? Lent, some argue has an overtone of works righteousness. Does it to all? An excellent argument against it was offered recently which suggested that keeping Lent might to revert back to the pre lenten patterns of sin on Easter Monday! Should not the spirit of Lent be kept throughout the year? To be sure. The same has been said of the spirit of giving. Let’s keep Christmas in our hearts all year long! This has the Some iconoclasts are dismissive of all christian holidays altogether because of this banter. However, their iconoclasm serves to keep nothing in their hearts but bitterness.
Is it possible to take a middle road, to set aside a special season, which after all, leads up to Good Friday and focus on the cross more than usual. Certainly, meditations on the cross can exist during Advent, after all, the swaddling clothes that wrapped the baby Jesus may be reminiscent of the linen cloths that wrapped his entombed body. Did not the myrrh brought by the wise men point to the bitterness of his death? Yet is seems that this time is right prior to Good Friday to reflect more than usual on the cross of Christ and all the events which surrounded it and the ultimate meaning of his atoning sacrifice.
Oh teach me what it meaneth,
Help me to take it in,
What it meant for thee the Holy One
To bear away my sin.
What do you think?