We are now in the fifth week of Lent and it’s hard to believe March has already come and gone! Lent is traditionally a time of preparation for the high holy days of the Christian calendar. Historically, it has been a time of retreat, spiritual study, fasting, and prayer, as Christians prepare their minds, bodies, and spirits for Easter. The Lenten period consists of 40 “fast days” plus 6 Sunday “feast days.” The number 40 is echoed throughout the Bible such as the 40 days Moses spent up on Mt. Sinai, the 40 days during which Elijah walked to Mt. Horeb before beginning his work as a prophet, and the 40 days of temptation in the wilderness that Jesus endured before his own ministry began. There are also 40 days between the resurrection and the ascension. In the Hebrew Scriptures 40 days signifies a time of judgment or testing, a probationary or trial period before something important begins.
For Christians, this period of preparation is leading up to the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus, who was called the Christ. Although Unity rejects the theology of substitutionary atonement (the idea that Jesus died on the cross for our sins), many/most Unity churches do observe the Lenten period. While there is no requirement for fasting during this time, Unity teaches that this is a period during which we may choose, as a spiritual discipline, to fast from things of the world and to feast on things of the spirit. What are you doing this Lent to prepare yourself for the re-birth of Christ Consciousness in you? Maybe you are participating in the Lenten Meditation Challenge, or perhaps you are doing daily prayer or contemplation, or are using the daily readings in Unity’s Lenten booklet, Release and Renew. It’s not too late to begin a spiritual discipline. You can start today! And if you derail or miss a day, you can simply offer yourself kindness and compassion, and then begin again.
In the opening article in the booklet, we read that “Easter is a story about the overcoming power of God in an individual life. Easter is a reminder that we have within us the power to overcome any obstacle in our way.” I invite you as you go about your week to reflect on how the power of God has helped you to overcome obstacles in your own life. How has your relationship with the God of your understanding empowered you to create a more vibrant, purposeful, and joyful life? How has your faith in God helped you through the tough times, such as the past two years of the pandemic?
Easter is ultimately a story of redemption. It teaches us that no matter what we have gone through in our lives, no matter how hard things have been for us, what challenges we have had to overcome, or how far we have gone astray, God, in us, through us, and as us, can make it all for good. Our faith in the goodness of God helps us to find the blessings in any situation. This is what gives us the strength to endure the storms of life, always holding fast to the belief that with God all things are possible and that ultimately all things work together for good.
I wish you infinite blessings during this time of Lent!
~ Rev. Michelle