An Apology for Lent
Open Your Bible
Psalm 78:1-7, Habakkuk 2:3, Galatians 4:4-5, Colossians 2:6-17
BY Guest Writer
Editor’s note: The word “apology” is used here not to imply guilt or regret, but rather to communicate a desire to make clear the grounds of a course, belief, or position. In this piece, the the word “apology” is a noun meaning “words offered in explanation.”
Text: Psalm 78:1-7, Habakkuk 2:3, Galatians 4:4-5, Colossians 2:6-17
The grand narrative of God’s Word through history is more than a tall tale. It is a historical record of real events with real people in real places and in real time. Indeed, as Paul makes plain in his letter to the church at Corinth, if Christ’s birth, death, and resurrection did not actually take place in time and space, then all is lost. We of all people are most to be pitied (1 Corinthians 15:19).
God not only authored the Bible’s true story, He’s its lead actor. Behind the flood, the call of Abraham, the Exodus, the rise of King David, the exile and return of Israel, and every other redemptive act—God is present and the prime mover. On every page of the Bible, God is the hero of the story. As the author and hero of redemption, God calls His people to remember the great things He has done (Deuteronomy 8:1-3).
One of the means God used to stir the mind and imaginations of His people to remembrance was a calendar. From the Day of Atonement to the weekly Sabbath, to the annual feasts and festivals, God calendared salvation history in order to help the prone-to-forgetfulness Israelites relive their redemption each year (Leviticus 23).
Rightfully so, the shadow of the Old Testament calendar faded in the bright light of Christ’s fulfillment (Colossians 2:16-17). Although God issued no new calendar requirement for the New Testament church, He gave His people the freedom to order their days while maintaining the commitment to remember the redemption of Jesus Christ (Romans 15:4-9, Galatians 3:1-4, Romans 6:5-11, 2 Peter 1:3-11).
Not as a biblical requirement but as a discipleship tool, the early church began marking the days by the life and ministry of Jesus (Advent to Ascension) and the life and ministry of His church (Pentecost to Ordinary Time). Many Christians throughout the centuries have kept the practice, finding it a helpful means of remembering and connecting to both the life of Christ and the reality of His church, reaching around the world and across generations.
In that spirit, we invite you to join us for the forty days of Lent, as we read Scripture and prayerfully prepare for the heartbreaking and heart-mending climax of the Christian year—the crucifixion and resurrection of our Savior.
Pastor Nate Shurden is one of the local pastors who serves She Reads Truth & He Reads Truth by providing theological oversight and pastoral counsel. Nate holds a Masters of Divinity from Reformed Theological Seminary in Jackson, MS. In 2010, he helped plant Cornerstone Presbyterian Church in Franklin, TN, where he still serves as the senior pastor. He is married to Christy, and they have four young children.