Live Like Jesus in Lent

Olive Cemetery where My Joy's David rests in peace

Olive Cemetery where My Joy’s David rests in peace

When My Joy saw the header she reminded me that she does not enjoy cemeteries. But I remember that she asked me to ride with her through Indiana’s country to Olive Cemetery where her David is buried.  She wanted to water the plants that she and her daughter had planted at their tombstone.    To me, the header was meant to remind of  lent.

Rhoda admiring a spring tulip

Rhoda admiring a spring tulip

Christians during lent are said to be like life living unseen beneath cold snow waiting for the warmth of spring, preparing to break through warming soil and to burst into bloom and bear fruit.  Seeds do it according to the nature of things.  But how do Christian’s do it?

Walking in the lush green of life.

Walking the trail behind Waterford Mennonite Church, in the lush green of life.

Christians do it the way seeds do? They do it naturally. It is natural for Christians to quietly live the beatitudes before blooming into new life.

Death,  burial, and resurrection are biblical metaphors.  The publican’s prayer of “God be merciful to me a sinner” is an appropriate prayer with which to enter lent. During this lent I recall that I have given up on perfection by legalism for the vulnerability of the Jesus way.

Lent allows us to peruse the graveyards of life.  We mark the tombstones of pride and prejudices, selfishness, and vain certainties. With saint Paul we turn pride into dung determined to forget the things that are behind, and press forward to the things that are before.

Through lent we love our enemies more than ever. We reflect on the simple life style of Jesus; the way he cared for the hungry, let little children crawl over him, touched lepers, gave assurance of forgiveness to a woman accused of adultery, opened the eyes of the blind, was stirred to righteous anger toward hypocrites who on the Sabbath day cared more for their animals than for fellow human beings in need of healing. He ate with outcasts simply and taught simply.

Throughout lent we exercise the Jesus life style that we should live every day.  Lent is not a celebration, we observe and reflect. We let the Holy Spirit have her way.

About Martin Lehman

I was born 92 years ago, the son of a Mennonite pastor and organic gardener in Franklin County, Pennsylvania. At age 10 I was baptized as a member of the Marion Mennonite Church. I own the "Old Fool" moniker because I want to walk the Jesus Way even though the world and much of the church takes me as a fool for doing so. In my life I have moved from being a young conservative to an elderly radical. I tell that story in My Faith Journey posted on my website.
This entry was posted in Family, Lent, Nature, Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to Live Like Jesus in Lent

  1. Mary Bontrager says:

    Where did we get the idea that Lent and Advent are important? I remember my parents fasted on Ash Wednesday and Good Friday. But everyday it’s important to “Practice the Presence of God”. If we do that, I’m not sure that special days and seasons are important. I wonder what other people think about that.

  2. Donald Blosser says:

    Good thinking Martin. I grew up in a relatively poor family in Eastern Ohio (at least we thought we were poor when we compared ourselves to our richer neighbors). But we never gave up anything for lent, because we didn’t have anything extra to give up. But this year, I decided on something else. I am going to give up being so hard on myself, and so critical when I do something less well than I think I should. Perhaps more of us who want to live simply all the time don’t need to focus on a tangible thing, but on something that will help us better reflect the life and person of Jesus for others — and for ourselves. Sometimes it helps to remember that God loves even imperfect, pretty human me more than I love myself.”.
    (Just remembered — Edith, my mother, would not like those last two words. to love yourself was not acceptable….it was even questionable in our house to accept ourselves—because that might lead to pride — and we all knew that was bad.)

  3. Sam Troyer says:

    This year when I first heard the word Lent, I felt my spirits lift because soon we would see an end to winter. The older I get the less I like the cold, my dad froze his one foot when he was younger so he always bought some sheep skin shoes for the winter. He finally consented to take mom to Florida; she had been begging him for years. We he got to Florida he said, (nivmy mse bodda fa mich) “No more wadding through snow for me.” But there is only one problem, Betsy doesn’t like Florida.
    Mary my parents fasted every Ash Wednesday and Good Friday, but never talked about the meaning. Since serving as a Chaplain at a Retirement community in Pennsylvania I’ve begun to pay more attention to the church calendar. We Chaplains used the lectionary since we had a lot of different faith traditions on campus. Some of our most active members were former military; there were Catholic’s and Lutherans and even a few plain River Brethren. Our preaching was always decidedly Anabaptist.
    Don I liked your emphasis “on reflecting on the person of Jesus for others, even for ourselves.” Having a healthy sense of self did not come easy for me.
    And last of all thanks Martin for starting us off on your reflection of lent.

  4. Marilyn Slabach says:

    Words of wisdom, Martin: “. . . given up on perfection by legalism for the vulnerability of the Jesus way.” I was a small child on a farm alone in a wheat field with a clear blue sky when I “asked Jesus to come into my heart”. The “picture” is always with me. . . natural and normal, and personal. No fear, no judgement then or now. (I was later baptized as a teenager because someone told me that was the public thing to do.) In my 80 years I am always responsible for me. But I have seen so many people damaged and hurt by the legalism and church leaders who I’m sure meant well. Seen people cry because they felt so guilty for what? . . . just being human and thinking they were never good enough? and even sometimes left the church. So sad. We each need to work out our own salvation. It IS a journey. Our personal journey. In the “church” one should find constant love, resources, guidance, and support as growth occurs all along the way. Isn’t that the Jesus way?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.