Across the Pastor’s Desk: Make Lent about God, not us

Published 8:00 pm Friday, March 1, 2024

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Across the Pastor’s Desk by Joy Knoppel

Grace and peace to you from God who is, who was, and who is to come.

Joy Knoppel

For those of you who are familiar with the church world we are currently in the season of Lent! Lent is a time of the year when we as Christians remember the 40 days Jesus fasted in the desert before he was crucified on the cross.

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During this season it is common to hear the question “what are you giving up for Lent?” but Lent is more than us giving up chocolate or wine or screen time.

You see Lent is not about how much we can suffer — how much we can “give up” for God. When we make it about us it becomes superficial and completely misses the point. Lent is about remembering the work that Christ did on the cross and realigning our will with God’s will.

I asked some of the high schoolers at my church to think about the things in their lives that were taking away from their relationship with God and their answers were quite profound. My favorite one was “I need to let go of some resentment I have so that I can move on with my life” and I was just blown away by the amount of self-awareness that my high school students have.

Resentment is one of the many things that keeps us from loving God and loving our neighbor. Do you need to let go of it too? Perhaps you need to let go of pride, anger, or jealousy. Maybe you need to say goodbye to greed, hatred, or complacency.

I hope that this Lenten season you will take a moment to ask God what it is in your life that is blocking you from loving God and loving your neighbor. We are not “giving up” something just to give it up, we are letting go of things that keep us from loving God and remembering the work that Jesus did on the cross.

I pray that your Lenten journey will be one that is Spirit led and love fed.

My door is always open.

Joy Knoppel is pastor at First Lutheran Church in Albert Lea.