Historically, Christian celebrations or “Holy Days” like Christmas and Easter were drawn out over longer periods of time that consisted of intentional discipline, dedication and worship. As a result, the celebration itself carried much more meaning, power, and significance for the Christian’s life, dramatically affecting one’s ability to hear God’s leading and breathe refreshing new life into the Christian walk.
Many of us have adopted a fast-food version – a one day only celebration that gives nourishment on the fly, but lacks any long-term nourishment or impact in terms of experience.
Every year, Christians all over the world mark the 40-day journey of Lent by sacrificing something that’s not harmful (this is important, because for Christians, it’s always time to give up something sinful). But what is the point? Lent can be an empty ritual where you choose to be miserable for 40 days and don’t understand why.
Simply put, Lent is a time for Christ-followers to re-orient their priorities. It’s when you give up something that could threaten to become a distraction from your relationship with God.
This year, we’re inviting you to join us in taking Lent a step further, by using this opportunity to focus on those in need. The challenge: Abstain from purchasing espresso, coffee, tea, etc. from coffee shops and espresso stands for the 40 days of Lent (you can still make coffee at home if you so choose). With the money you save by not buying drinks, we will donate to Living Water International to contribute to building fresh water wells in communities that do not have access to clean drinking water. By doing so, you can literally have a part in saving lives. ACC has funded the building of wells through LWI in the past during Advent, (click the link to read about it) and the results (click to read about one well in particular) have been truly rewarding. So join us! Grab a “Thirsty for the Thirsty” cup from the church this Sunday or during the week – you can use these to collect cash and change you might have used to buy a drink. And when you feel oh so desperate for a steaming mocha, remember: That sense that something is missing can make you stop and remember what you’re commemorating. It’s similar to fasting, where your lack of nourishment from food is meant to remind you to intentionally seek spiritual nourishment through prayer.
The goal of Lent, then, is to yank Christians out of a normal routine, into something where God sets the terms. However you do that, you will find value in having your priorities realigned.
Lent starts February 13th this year. Consider your journey and this opportunity to draw closer to Him, and to make a difference in someone else’s life.
– Mike Rauwolf
*This article is partially adapted from Relevant Magazine’s “The Real Purpose of Lent’s 40 Days.”