"The time has come," he said. "The kingdom of God is near. Repent and believe the good news!" Mark 1:15
As presented on *The Lutheran Hour® by Dr. Oswald Hoffmann, February 9, 1956.
Lent is a time for reflection and, based on that reflection, thoughtful repentance. It is also a time of faith, the beginning of new life. The 40-day period of Lent was set aside a long time ago for spiritual discipline. It is for toning up the muscles of faith, deepening devotion, and developing the practice of faith – including the exercise of Christian charity and mercy.
There was a time in the early church when inquirers were intensively prepared for the plunge of baptism and their new life in Christ. Lent was this preparatory time, and now it is a period to help people change for the better, change direction, change outlook, and change habits from bad to good. Lent was not intended to be an end in itself, but a means to an end: that people might emerge better representatives of the Lord of glory who died that people might live by faith in Him.
Lent is for dying and for living again. Jesus Christ died for the sins of the world, taking them into His own heart. He died to give the freedom and joy of forgiveness to human hearts, always beset by temptation and finding it a losing battle to overcome with the meager power of purely human resolution, no matter how determined they may be.
Lent is for change, for turning to the power of God, for genuine repentance, and for trusting faith that accepts forgiveness from the gracious hand of God, both given and accepted for the sake of Jesus Christ who died and rose again.
Lord God, give us faith in Jesus whom You have sent. Give us the discipline of faith and love to exercise our muscles in service to You. Amen.
Taken from A Message of Hope: Proclaiming the Cross (selections from messages broadcast on *The Lutheran Hour, celebrating 75 years of proclaiming the promise).
Copyright © 2006 by Lutheran Hour Ministries
*The Lutheran Hour is the longest-running Christian radio broadcast in the world. It is a production of Lutheran Hour Ministries. For more information, visit www.lutheranhour.org.