lent_loveBy Kevin Kindelin
This article was originally posted on 1/28/16 and has been updated for this Lenten season

Lent is the season of preparation before Easter beginning March 1st (Ash Wednesday) and ending on Saturday, April 15th. It is a time when many Christians prepare for Easter by setting aside a time for reflecting on Jesus Christ, specifically his suffering and sacrifice. I was brought up thinking I had to give something up for Lent as a way of honoring his sacrifice. I never knew what I should give up…sweets, favorite TV shows, fun activities, maybe even beer. Well maybe not beer, after all I am a Lutheran who happens to be Irish! The point is, the more I thought about what would be an appropriate sacrifice, the more I realized there isn’t one. What a quandary! I wanted to honor Him by giving something up, but knew there was nothing I could give up, even if it were beer, that would come close to His suffering and sacrifice. All kidding aside, to give up something I may consider a sacrifice could never compare to what He did for me and therefore would be meaningless.

A few years ago, I presented my problem to Pastor Tom. What he told me was nothing short of a revelation. It’s not what we can give up for Lent that honors Him but rather what we can do for Him. Pastor Warren addressed this issue a few years ago while guest blogging for Pastor Tom. He talked about sacrificing his beloved Mountain Dew and enduring the caffeine-deprived headaches, afternoon sugar crashes, and general crankiness. He thought he had made a great sacrifice. He thought his focus was on the Lord until he realized he had it all wrong. He wrote that his focus was entirely upon himself, not what Christ had done for him. He wrote about not trying to give something up, but instead taking on something worthwhile, learning about Jesus and the sacrifice he made for us.

This makes sense to me. Knowing our Lord honors Him. Knowing our Lord teaches us to share His love by loving others. In John 15:12 ESV, Jesus says, “My commandment is this: to love one another just as I have loved you.” Loving each other requires us to do something to show this love. Get involved in a ministry; help out a neighbor; join a Bible study; commit yourself to our Stronger Together campaign; COME TO CHURCH! Where else can you find and show Jesus your love than in His house. He said it Himself in Luke 2:49 ESV: And he said to them, “why were you looking for me? Did you not know that I must be in my Father’s house?” Clearly, the best place to find Him, and ultimately learn about Him and want to do something for Him, is in church.

Come and join us for Lent @ Immanuel 2017. On Wednesdays March 1 - April 5th we will have Lenten Dinner from 5:00pm - 6:30pm and Lenten Worship Service 7:00pm - 8:00pm. Visit our Easter 2017 page for details on other services & events this Easter season.

Jesus made the ultimate sacrifice out of love for us by laying down his life for us. Before he did, he commanded us to love each other. What better way can we honor Him than by obeying his command? As Pastor Tom would say, see you in church!