As Christians, we are in the midst of the Lent season.
Lent is different than Advent. At Advent, there is great expectation of the coming of Jesus and God’s love.
In Lent, we are drawn in to the final days of Jesus and suffering he will face in these final days. We can experience the Lent season by reading in Matthew 21: 1, Mark 1: 1, Luke 19:28, and John 12:12. (OMA will have the Cross Walk at 11:30 a.m. on Good Friday and worship on the final “Seven Words of Jesus”.)
Lent is a 40-day time for reflection and meditation. This is a time when we look at ourselves and ask the reality questions concerning our own spiritual lives. Lent has the tradition to “fast or give up something for 40-days.” I would suggest Lent could be a time to begin a new spiritual experience. In Lent, we can discover how we can be “follower of Jesus” in our lives.
I read the other day of the “Forty Martyrs.” This event happens around 320 A.D. I quote to you the event:
“Would Christian soldiers obey and bow to pagan gods? Governor Agricola spoke mildly but firmly. He had good and strong warriors before him. He needed them. They must be brought into line. “I am told you refuse to offer the sacrifice ordered by Emperor Licinius.”
One of the soldiers answered on behalf of the rest, “We will not sacrifice. To do so is to betray our holy faith.”
The Governor said, “But what about your comrades? Consider — you alone of Caesar’s troops defy him! Think of the disgrace you bring upon your legion. How can you do it?”
The soldier answered, “To disgrace the name of our Lord Jesus Christ is more terrible still.”
The Governor gave the soldiers one more chance, but no soldier moved. The soldiers were beaten and thrown into jail. The Governor called on Lysias, commander of the 12th Legion, who was in no gentle mood when the 40 Christian soldiers were hauled before him a few days later. “You will obey me,” he said sternly, “or pay a sharp penalty.”
The men answered him with respectful defiance, just as they had before. Lysias had not become a commander by coddling traitors, and he did not intend to begin now. As commander, he must make these unbending men conform. But how?
Just then, a frigid gale blew across the frozen pond below and stabbed into his cheeks. It gave him an idea. “Take them down to the pond,” he ordered. Turning to the soldiers he added, “You will stand naked on the ice until you agree to sacrifice to the gods.”
The commander could hardly believe what his eyes saw next! The rebels began stripping off their own clothes and running toward the pond in the freezing March air. “We are soldiers of the Lord and fear no hardship,” shouted one. “What is our death but entrance into eternal life?”
The 40 soldiers stood tall for Jesus Christ. In our reflection, meditation and tears may we stand tall for Jesus Christ in this Lent season. Let this Lent be a time for spiritual growth in our lives.