Lent and the joy set before us

For the joy set before [Jesus] he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.

Every Sunday during Lent is to be celebrated as a mini-Easter in anticipation of Resurrection Day, Easter Sunday, when we celebrate our Lord’s resurrection from the dead. An important part of Lent is a looking forward to the life that comes out of death. The death of the cross in Jesus is followed by his resurrection life, shared by all the faithful, all believers beginning in this life, the culmination in the resurrection of the body and of all creation in the life to come.

So we don’t fast (if we do) or practice penitential sorrow for and confession of our sins during Lenten season only for their own good reasons. But we do so in anticipation of the joy set before us in Jesus, and we press ahead in the way of the cross so that like our Lord we can embrace and live fully in that joy to come.

Of course this process is ongoing in this life, even if punctuated with emphasis during Lenten season. It is to a major extent about joy, knowing the joy of the Lord which is our strength. As we continue to press on in this world as God’s resurrection people in Christ in the way of the cross.

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