The period from now until Easter is known as Lent. It is traditionally a time to consider our hearts as a preparation for the festival that follows.
In the U.K., Lent fits into the transition between winter and Spring. The weather changes daily. Yesterday was gale and driving rain; today is gloriously and warmly bathed in sunshine. A few days ago we had a sharp frost. I took this photo of frost-encrusted bramble leaves before the rising sun melted the icing. Frost enhances the shape and pattern of each leaf, and adorns it with a delicate sculpture of tiny ice crystals. Beautiful… but bitterly cold.
Taking this shock of icy cold as a starter, imagine what the Twelve felt like as Jesus spoke boldly and confrontationally about the true cost of discipleship. As He spoke, I suspect that a frost chilled their souls… “What have we let ourselves in for?”
Reflect on the following Bible passage- Mark 8:34-38 (NLT)
Then, calling the crowd to join his disciples, he said, “If any of you wants to be my follower, you must turn from your selfish ways, take up your cross, and follow me. If you try to hang on to your life, you will lose it. But if you give up your life for my sake and for the sake of the Good News, you will save it. And what do you benefit if you gain the whole world but lose your own soul? Is anything worth more than your soul? If anyone is ashamed of me and my message in these adulterous and sinful days, the Son of Man will be ashamed of that person when he returns in the glory of his Father with the holy angels.”
Immediately after this came the Transfiguration. After that, Good Friday looms. Then will come Resurrection.
Lent reminds us that before we get to the glory and celebration, first comes the frost that chills our souls. Only when we fully understand the cost can we fully enjoy Resurrection Life.
Take the time to feel the chill… and then embrace the hope.