In the orthodox church in America, many refer to the season of Lent as a season of "bright sadness". Its an intentional time in the church calendar when we enter into spiritual wilderness to work out what it means to approach Easter as a people who believe in the resurrection.
One of my favorite ways to understand the season of Lent is through the story of the Israelites in the Old Testament. We are all likely familiar with the story of the Israelites' miraculous exodus from Egypt, their wandering years in the desert, and their eventual crossover into the promised land.
The beauty of their journey is that it also serves as a metaphor for our individual spiritual journeys. Just as the Israelites passed through the Red Sea to escape their oppressors, we have passed through the waters of Baptism to escape the slavery of sin. And, just as the Israelites wandered in the desert for 40 years, we take time each Lenten season to fast, reflect, and create margin for ourselves to depend on spiritual food (manna) from the Lord. Easter is our spiritual promised land, and as we prepare to enter into the Easter season in just a few weeks, I encourage you to take time to read through the Israelites' journey from slavery to freedom and reflect on how it parallels with your own journey. Embrace these 40 days in the desert, and look forward, with bright sadness, to the coming of Easter.
I also invite you to join the CARE for AIDS team in prayer during this season. You can follow along with our six week Lenten prayer guide, which you can download here.