"What good is it to show up to a feast if you’re not hungry?"
These were my final thoughts at the end of my recent conversation with two church leaders about why Christians participate in Lent.
Lent is the season of 40 days (technically 46) in some church traditions that leads up to Easter. It is an opportunity to join Jesus symbolically in the 40 days He spent in the wilderness being tested and tempted before launching into ministry. Traditionally people would fast from meat, sugar or some other food as a way to build a sense of hungry. The purpose being that as you feel physical hunger it would remind you of your spiritual hunger for God.
At the end of Lent is Easter, a feast celebrating Jesus' victory over sin and death (remembering that He first then died a humiliating and excoriating death on a cross, and then an entire day in waiting before the Glory of Resurrection Sunday). The point then of Lent is to build a hunger for the feast. If you are not hungry, you have no need for the delicious food a feast offers. If you have not walked in the wilderness, you have no desire for the community and connection the celebration offers. If you have not seen the utter brokenness of your sinful self, you have no need for the freedom and restoration that resurrection brings.
Lent prepares you to receive the goodness that God offers.
Are you hungry yet?