new day

Tomorrow is Ash Wednesday, the beginning of Lent. Reflect, for a moment, on what it is that you wish to happen during this Lenten time. If you are not really sure, but know that this is a time when people make sacrifices and give up food. Then ask yourself, “Why do they do that?” And, just as importantly, “Why do you feel a need to do that?” There must be a reason: why. You see others fasting and making sacrifices, so you feel that you should do it, also. Is that it?

What does sacrifice mean? Why is it so important? The concept of sacrifice goes back to ancient times, when mankind wished to do something special to show their love for their God. Sacrifice became synonymous with the killing of small animals on an altar and offering that sacrifice to God. It was their attempt to give back to God, something of theirs, something of value, something that they would normally eat. Thus, they would deprive themselves of something so that they could show their love to their God.

This concept held true for a long time, until the time of the Christ. Jesus came to show us that God was not an aloof God, nor an uncaring God, but rather a God that loved us dearly. In fact, He loves us so much that He sends His Son, Jesus, to straighten out our misunderstanding about who and what God is. God resides in each of us and so Jesus showed us that to love God we must love ourselves AND our fellow man.

Lent is the forty days leading up to Easter time, the most sacred of Holy Days. The Passion of Jesus, His suffering, His death and His Resurrection all come together to show us the extent that Jesus is willing to go for us. He sacrifices Himself, for us! Why would He do that? Because God resides in each of us, you, me, the couple down the street, the beggar in the cardboard box, everyone. God breathed Himself into us, at our creation. We truly do have God within us. So, yes, Jesus suffers and dies for you and me, because we house some aspect of God within. But if it were to stop there, it would have just been … nice. But Easter, the Resurrection, shows to all of mankind that Jesus was not just an ordinary human. He has dominion over death, itself. His rising from the dead shows to us, proves to us, that His life, His words, His actions were not just a fable, a fairy tale. God, a loving God, had come into our time to show us the way, to show us how to live.

So, that brings us to Lent, a time noted for making sacrifices. But, if those sacrifices are simply giving up food, ice cream, and candy with no connection to God, nor our fellow man, then we are simply on a special diet. We would be like the ancients, a long time ago, trying to show God that He was special to them. But, in limiting our sacrifices to just giving up “things”, we would be turning our head away from the very purpose of the life of Jesus. We would be ignoring the fact that God dwells in each of us. If we truly wish to show God the extent of our love, then we have to look at and love the people we work with, the people who live on our street, who live in a box. We have to treat with kindness the rude people, the people we are afraid of, and the people who hurt us.

It may seem like a terribly difficult load to carry, but think of it. God is within us, His creations. He loves us, His creations. He sees all of our faults, our tendencies, but He still loves us, His creations. All of mankind has their faults, their tendencies, and God still loves ALL of us. What better way to truly show our love for our God, than to love His presence in all of His creations, to love His creations. Giving up a dessert, a treat, a candy may seem to satisfy an urge within us, to impress our God. But how much more do we show our love for Him when we love His creatures, not because they treat us well, but because ALL of them have God within. Have a happy and loving Lent… It’s a New Day!!

Here are some other Posts that have a similar theme. Click on any one of them:

1) A Time For Love
2) Lent 2012
3) Silent Heroes
4) The Focus of Lent