I suspect that few Baptists grew up with an emphasis on the season of Lent. In recent years, this church has joined many others in Baptist and Protestant traditions in discovering the value of this season which invites us to prepare our hearts as we follow Christ on His journey to the cross and ultimately to the great news of Easter. Lent is a 40-day season of self-examination and spiritual preparation before Easter. In the early history of the church, this was a time when new converts were invited to devote them-selves to prayer and study as a way of getting ready for baptism on Easter Sunday.
For us, the season of Lent is an invitation to reflect on our lives and seek spiritual renewal. We set aside 40 days to prepare our-selves to take in the Good News of Easter through deeper disciplines of prayer, Bible study, generosity, service, and self-denial (some people choose to give up something they like for 40 days as a way of reflecting on Christ’s sacrifice). It can be a season to recognize the junk and clutter that fill our minds and lives and then do some spiritual spring cleaning as we prepare for the darkness of Good Friday and the light of Easter.
As I have been preparing for Lent, I have been inspired by an idea being promoted by the leadership of Passport, the group that sponsors the youth camp our teenagers have been attending. This year, the camp theme, “Do. Love. Walk.”, draws from Micah 6:8. This verse says, “He has shown you, O mortal, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.” The Passport leadership reminds us that this call is still vital for the church. God still calls us to act justly, love mercy, and walk humbly with our God.
With this in mind, they have issued what they are calling the Micah 6:8 challenge for the season of Lent. Instead of just giving up something for Lent this year, perhaps we can take on or invest in God’s work in practical ways. On the Passport Facebook page, there is this invitation, “Instead of ‘sacrificing’ that Diet Coke or giving up sweets this year, perhaps we could Do something, Love somebody, and Walk toward someone. Might we spend these 40 days practicing justice, showing love in tangible ways, and walk-ing with humility on our minds? Justice can be shown in volunteering to serve the poor or standing up to the bully. Kindness and love can be shown through words that give life and build our neighbor up instead of tear down. Walking in humility can be done in deferring to the person in front of us instead of speaking or acting first.”
I like this idea. In what ways can we focus our hearts, minds, and actions in this season on doing, loving, and walking humbly?