With sundown this evening, the day before Resurrection Sunday, the Lenten season concludes. It's been a fascinating few weeks.
From a "surrender" perspective, I did not consume any Diet Coke throughout the Lent. It wasn't nearly as hard as I imagined it would be, finally proving to myself that I could go on without it if I had to. Developing new patterns was the most difficult thing for me. My daily routine (a stop at the Mt Adams UDF for a 44 ounce Diet Coke) was completely altered; additionally, during this time, two of the regular employees with whom I developed relationships no longer work there. I'll have to build some new relationships there.
On an editorial note, I'm not sure I feel any healthier. I've been drinking tons of tea, both caffeinated and caffeine-free, so I'll welcome more flavor in my beverages. I should admit that I'll cautiously ease back into my Diet Coke habit since I'm one week out from the marathon and I don't want my system to go haywire.
From a spiritual perspective, I thoroughly enjoyed this season. More so than any other time I can remember, I fasted and prayed with intentionality and I desperately needed it. During the past forty plus days I have had numerous friends and family members encounter illness and tragedy. While I always pray, I felt my prayers were more focused during this time. I thought more about kingdom issues during this time. I'm in the midst of an incredibly busy and stressful time in life, but practicing Lent seems to have perfectly offset the chaos of my life.
And as for our congregation, I think Lent was a blessing. Many people at Echo took up this challenge and I believe all benefitted. I've seen some amazing growth in our church recently. Again, I'm not sure if we can attribute it all to Lent, but I truly saw the Spirit work through us during the past few weeks.
Tomorrow is a day of celebration so we fast no more. The tomb is empty. Jesus is risen.
Praise the Lord.