by Kayla Lutes, Features Editor
This year, Lent began on March 1. Associate Dean for Campus Ministries and Campus Chaplain Greg Haseloff explained that the season of Lent “has been observed by the church for many centuries.”
Haseloff said, “Since the most central event of the Christian faith is the death and resurrection of Christ, the church began observing a period of spiritual preparation for the 40 days leading up to Easter.”
At times, giving up something for Lent can seem like self-improvement more than a spiritual practice, but if one keeps in mind the reason for sacrifice and chooses spiritual ways to be more disciplined, the practice can help to prepare the soul for Easter.
As a child, I was told that we give up things for Lent because Christ gave up his life for us. Continuing the childish practice of denying myself Rice Krispy Treats, however, is not a great reminder of this sacrifice. Discipline in Lent should be centered around spiritual practices. Instead of having less sugar, one could seek to have more prayer or more love.
To be more disciplined in observance of Lent, Haseloff suggests creating a daily time for contemplation and engagement with scripture and choosing something to give up for the 40 days of Lent. To know what this should be (hint: not Rice Krispy Treats), Haseloff suggests identifying “one or two things in your life which you tell yourself you need, but you can honestly say they are unnecessary.”
Being reflective during Lent is another way to be intentional in the practice. Introspection and consideration of God’s work in your life can remind you of your personal need for Easter. Prayer, contemplation and reading are great ways to foster reflection.
In terms of contemplation, Haseloff suggests asking, “Is there a habit or sin in my life that repeatedly gets in the way of loving God with my whole heart or loving my neighbor as myself? How do I address that habit over the next 40 days?” and thinking about whether “there is someone in your life of who you need to ask forgiveness.”
Aside from these key questions, prayer and time listening to worship music can also foster a reflective mind. To aid in this time of reflection, Haseloff suggests the book “Prayer” by Richard Foster and “Soundtrack” by J.D Walt which Asbury will offer to students starting this week.
Professor of English Daniel Strait suggests reading George Herbert during the Lenten season. “While Herbert’s poetry leads, ultimately, to God, it confronts the difficulties and ordeals of Christian experience,” Strait said.
Specifically, Strait suggests Herbert’s poem “Easter’s Wings” which shows us that “it is Christ’s affliction—ultimately through his victory over death—that enables us to rise,” Strait said. “Herbert never fails to remind us that we are an Easter people. We shall rise, as the poet does, on Easter wings.”