Welcome, everyone, to the final week of Lent. I am so thankful for all our friends who have followed this journey with InFocus. With Easter Sunday just around the corner, and the season of Lent at an end, it is a good time to reflect on the experience of this Lenten season as a whole, as well as a time to look toward the significance of Holy Week and Easter Sunday itself. The reason we choose to observe Lent is for the yearly reminder of Jesus’s sacrifice for us, but it’s also a time for contemplation about our own spiritual path and how we choose to live our life. The season of Lent allows us to slow down, to become more aware of our unhealthy habits and to develop better practices, it gives us room to focus on our spiritual well-being. It is a transformative time. In this final week, consider how this season has affected you…
- Have you taken the time to slow down and reflect?
- What did you gain from this opportunity?
- What would you like to do with your final week of this season?
The Lenten season is meant to kindle a “bright sadness” within our hearts. Its aim is precisely the remembrance of Christ, a longing for a relationship with God that has been lost. Lent offers the time and place for recovery of this relationship. The darkness of Lent allows the flame of the Holy Spirit to burn within our hearts until we are led to the brilliance of the Resurrection.
Here at InFocus, we have been following the Stations of the Cross, focusing each week on one of the most essential moments in Jesus’ journey toward his crucifixion. This final week, appropriately, we are looking at Jesus being laid in the tomb.
Jesus is Laid in the Tomb
“As evening approached, Joseph, a rich man from Arimathea who had become a follower of Jesus, went to Pilate and asked for Jesus’ body. And Pilate issued an order to release it to him. Joseph took the body and wrapped it in a long sheet of clean linen cloth. He placed it in his own new tomb, which had been carved out of the rock. Then he rolled a great stone across the entrance and left. Both Mary Magdalene and the other Mary were sitting across from the tomb and watching.”
(Matthew 27:57-61 NLT)
This moment signifies both endings and beginnings. It is the end of Jesus’ life and his suffering. It signifies the completion and success of his mission on earth. It is also the beginning of our salvation. The start of a new hope to light the path of followers of God. It is the end of a mortal life, and the beginning of life eternal.
For those around Jesus as he died, it was a time of deep grief. Not only had they lost a beloved friend, but must have felt like they lost their greatest hope. If their savior was dead…what could that mean for their faith? As modern Christians, we can feel their grief and hopelessness. Grief is a vital element of the season of Lent; we are meant to mourn with our Christian forbearers, as we remember Jesus’ suffering and sacrifice. But, we should feel hope in places of hopelessness. We know that Easter is around the corner and that our grief will be replaced with joy and everlasting hope.
Easter is a celebration; the greatest celebration for Christians. It is a time for joy and gratitude. With our final week of Lent, take time for both grief and joy. While reflecting on the history of our faith or what is happening in your own life, allow yourself to feel both the pain and the love that surrounds you; to feel both is to be as God created us.
I realize in my own journey the importance of grieving a loss. It is a sacred time. Jesus’ family grieved. His disciples grieved. His followers grieved. In this, I am comforted to know that I, too, must grieve.
I’ll close with a quote from Julian of Norwich (1343-1416):
“The best prayer is to rest in the goodness of God, knowing that that goodness can reach down to our lowest depths of need.”
Questions for reflection:
- What was your major take away from Lent this year?
- What is ending and what is beginning in your life?
- What are you grieving in life and what are you celebrating?
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*I want to thank Cecelia Meserve for her contributions throughout the Lent series.