Lovin' 'n Lent
The calendar this year gave us Valentine’s Day on Sunday the 14th and Ash Wednesday three days later on the 17th of February. Interestingly, these two special days will both be on the 14th of February in the years 2024 and 2029. This confluence makes me wonder about possible connections between Love and Lent. Do we Love Lent? Could Lent be a time of Love? Are Love and Lent opposites?
Every day is a good day to celebrate Love! Since God is Love, we can think of Valentine’s Day as another chance to rejoice in our God. And while the exact history of St. Valentine, for whom the day is named, is a bit murky, all accounts describe a man who loved God and who was martyred for his faith.
Lent is the season of focused reflection on our sinfulness and repentance for our sin. The insidious nature of sin makes it necessary for us to investigate all parts of our lives and thinking to uncover doubt, idolatry, pride, and coveting. We ask the Spirit of our God to take these sins to the cross of Jesus and crucify them there so that we may live a new life, be His new creation, and be able to say, “It is no longer I who live but Jesus lives in me!”
It seems then that Love and Lent are opposites. But what happens if we include John 3.16 in the discussion? “God so loved the world that his only Son died in our place because of our sin.” How can Love and sin live together in the same sentence? Or even more to the core, how could God Love sinners so much?
Would you sacrifice your only son to redeem this sinful world? Just think of this past year. Of all the lying, cheating, stealing, manipulating, foul-mouthed, coveting, immoral sinners you witnessed, which are worth trading the life of your child for? Which person would you set free to live while your only son lies dead in a grave? Wouldn’t people call you crazy for even considering such a trade?
But God did the unthinkable. He did send his Son and he died for our sins. What was God thinking? Apparently, he was thinking that Love conquers sin. And now, all of a sudden, we have a connection between Love and Lent! Do you see it?
This Lent, let Love conquer your sin! Peter, in his letter, says this: “Above all have constant Love for each other because Love covers a multitude of sins.”
This Lent, let Love cover your sins.
This Lent, let Love cover the sins of other people.
This Lent, let go of your pride, coveting, doubt, and fear.
Let Love be all that you do this Lent. (1 Corinthians 16.14) Owe nothing but Love this Lent. (Romans 13.8) We Love because God first loved us. (1 John 4.19)