This year we have been going through the Sacred Holidays Lent study which has been walking us through the gospel of John. I love how Sacred Holidays uses candles not just for their Advent study but also for their Lent study. We have focused on the lighting of Lenten candles and we light all the candles on Easter Sunday to celebrate the Light, that defeated darkness forever. The study started with John 1:1-5
“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through him, and without him was not anything made that was made. In him was life, and the life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.”
This was the first year I have ever really done a Lent study. Growing up in the Catholic church I always remember Lent as a time where we gave up something for 40 days and where my family typically ate cheese pizza on Fridays because we couldn’t have meat. I knew what Jesus did on the cross, but not so much how it affected my life and my heart. I longed for Easter candy, for my all time favorite Reese's peanut butter eggs, and for a new pretty Easter dress, but the longing for Jesus’ resurrection wasn’t something that I deeply thought of. As I’ve grown up and I’ve come to know Jesus deeply I long for this season of Lent, this season of a “bright sadness.” The mourning and sadness of Jesus death on the cross and the bright light of the rolling away of the stone, the overcoming victory over the grave, and the resurrection of Christ. My heart has changed toward Lent as a time to sacrifice to myself, to meditate on truth, and to dive deeper into the knowledge of all that Christ did for us on the cross.
One of my favorite things that stuck out to me through the Sacred Holidays Lent study through the book of John is the truth that Jesus was both fully God and fully man. We learn about Jesus weeping over His friend Lazarus’s death even though He knew the power that He had to bring him back to life. We read about Jesus having dinner with his friends, staying with them and loving them well until the very end before he was arrested. We also read about Jesus praying to God the Father and asking if there was any other way, but for God’s will to be done. I think it’s so easy to think of Jesus as God and forget that he fully feels all the emotions that we feel, and He feels every bit of our pain. This was definitely a truth that I’ve thought a lot about over the last several weeks, that every bit of temptation that I have felt on Earth, Jesus was tempted with as well. And I’ve also been encouraged by the truth that we can call on “the Helper” the Holy Spirit to remind us of this when we are feeling tempted or when we are struggling. When Jesus was resurrected into Heaven the Spirit of God now dwells in us and He will guide us into all truth.
I am so grateful for this sweet season of Lent that we have gathered around our living rooms with our neighbors and dear friends and dove deep into the gospel of John. We have wrapped up the study with a word from Ephesians 5:8 “for at one time you were darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light.” Jesus came to shine light into the darkness, to save us from our sins and to enter into the separation between God and man. He has fully reconciled us to our Heavenly Father. We as children of the light are called to walk in the light of this truth in faith, knowing that we are raised to new life with Christ with the power of the Holy Spirit.