Virginia Christian Alliance
Recently, while attending a funeral for a Catholic friend, Don Blake, President and Chairman of the Virginia Christian Alliance, noticed some pamphlets that reflected on the upcoming period of Lent, which is commonly celebrated by Catholics in preparation for Christendom’s most holy time of the year, Easter.
Liking what he read in the pamphlets, Don then called me, an evangelical, cradle Catholic and one of VCA’s board members, to discuss the concepts of Lent as outlined in those pamphlets. Don, whose work with VCA has created an ecumenically diverse Board and members, felt it might be useful to take up a similar approach to honoring and acknowledging our Lord’s sacrifice by highlighting an idea for contemplation each of the six weeks leading up to Easter. This is the first of six.
As a former Marine, I tend to have a penchant for reducing larger concepts into an acronym to enable me to recall and mull over that concept. In pondering what I think Lent represents I formed the acronym Love Eventually Negates Troubles. (1Cor 13:7-8) Fundamentally, I believe that is one of the basic underlying ideas that our Father would like for us to get out of the promise that Easter represents. Love covers a multitude of sins. (1Peter 4:8)
For Catholics Lent begins on Ash Wednesday, this year 2017, March 1. Ash Wednesday is generally signified by attending a church service where ashes(which are produced by burning the palm branches from the previous year’s Palm Sunday mass that celebrated Christ entrance to Jerusalem) are applied with the thumb of the priest on the forehead of each person, and in the process the words are whispered to the receiver, “Little man, from ashes you have come and to ashes you shall return.”(Gen 2:7)
The intent is to begin to move each person into a mindset of humility, acknowledging the brevity of this life and that at any moment we may be standing before Jesus, to give an account of all that we have done in this life. Thus, out of a mindset of humility and submission to the will of God we repent, throughout the six weeks of Lent, working out our salvation with fear and trembling. (Phl 2:12-15)
The word repent is derived from the Greek word, metanoia, which much more accurately describes the nature of true repentance, a change of mind and a change of heart. Easton’s 1897 Bible Dictionary provides an excellent description of this “nature”.
“Evangelical repentance consists of (1) a true sense of one’s own guilt and sinfulness; (2) an apprehension of God’s mercy in Christ; (3) an actual hatred of sin (Ps. 119:128; Job 42:5, 6; 2 Cor. 7:10) and turning from it to God; and (4) a persistent endeavour after a holy life in a walking with God in the way of his commandments.
The true penitent is conscious of guilt (Ps. 51:4, 9), of pollution (51:5, 7, 10), and of helplessness (51:11; 109:21, 22). Thus he apprehends himself to be just what God has always seen him to be and declares him to be. But repentance comprehends not only such a sense of sin, but also an apprehension of mercy, without which there can be no true repentance (Ps. 51:1; 130:4).”
During Lent, try to focus on some simple ideas that are specifically oriented towards God and make it a repetitive action. A friend of mine sets his watch alarm to go off numerous times throughout the day which is intended to bring his mind back to repeating one thought about God. If we focus on one thing, God is love (1Jn 4:8-11) the change of mind and heart that will be produced from that will represent everything that our Father meant for it to be through the sacrifice of His son Jesus for us. Remember, Love Eventually Negates Troubles and God is Love.
Craig Hudgins serves as a board member on the Virginia Christian Alliance and Craig formerly founded and published a conservative newspaper, the Virginia Chronicle. He formally served as the Secretary for the Board of ACT for America! and formally co-host of the pro-life radio show Dominion Air with VCA Advisory board member, Diana DeBoe.
Craig is a life long Roman Catholic and distinguishes his fervor for this faith by virtue of the personal relationship he came to have with Jesus Christ in 1976. His priorities in life are defined by his commitment to God, family and country.