At Calvary Chapel the observance Lent really isn’t part of our “tradition”. In fact, if you are familiar with Calvary Chapel you will no doubt think that the word tradition isn’t in our vocabulary! It is true, we are often referred to as a non-traditional church and for the most part we are. At Calvary you will find we “come as we are” and we very pretty laid back during our service. As the pastor you find me often in jeans and a jersey, or in the summer shorts and a t-shirt. But we do have traditions, for instance we almost always start our services with praise and worship, followed by an open fellowship time while the kids are being dismissed to their classes, then we settle down with our coffee in hand to study the Bible together. We take communion at least once a month and we baptize people when the occasion calls for it.
But as far as traditional liturgical stuff goes we are fairly light on that and I think that is just fine. I am not writing this to try and get you to start following the traditions of other churches or denominations. But I don’t think it hurts to look at what other churches do and see if there is something there that might have some application for us. Ultimately the truth is that all we need is Jesus. The Word of God is clear from cover to cover that it is all about Jesus and what he did for mankind on the cross. We are saved by Faith through Grace. In other words… He did the work and all we do is believe on Him and what he did for us and let Him be our Lord and Savior. That is all there is to it.
But… often I wonder if we apply that in our lives every day… Do we reflect on what a commitment to be a Christ follower really means? Do we contemplate how it should impact how we live and the way in which others perceive us? Francis Schaeffer in his work ““Christianity is not just involved with “salvation”, but with the total man in the total world. The Christian message begins with the existence of God forever, and then with creation. It does not begin with salvation. We must be thankful for salvation, but the Christian message is more than that. Man has a value because he is made in the image of God.”
Do we ever take time to truly reflect on the transformation that salvation in Christ has actually worked in us? Does it reflect in our actions, our words, and how we view the whole of life? I believe strongly that it should. I think the season of Lent, in the weeks leading up to the celebration of the Resurrection, is a perfect time to set aside some of the distractions of life and consider Jesus. Reflect on his goodness and his complete work and take time to appreciate all in this world that reflects his Glory.
Lent wasn’t a “thing” when Jesus was on this earth but he lived a life of prayer and fasting. He expected his followers to do the same. Remember this isn’t religion it’s relationship. Just like when you shut off the TV or put down that magazine to give your kids or spouse your undivided attention because you want to connect with them and experience the benefits of your relationship. Maybe it’s time to set aside some time and try borrow and apply a little Lent in your life.