I’m so thankful for the Biola University Lent Project website. The quality of most of the daily devotionals has just been excellent. Today’s entry (March 16th) is particularly worthy of excerpting here.
Note: The Scripture passage which precedes the devotional is I Corinthians 15:20-28:
You Must Die Before You Die
Sundays in Lent are odd, because they are still feast days. Even in this time of fasting, we stop every seven days and celebrate that Christ rose from the dead.
And because he did, we have the hope that we will, too.
This hope sustains us all through the long days of Lent, all through this tiring journey of self-denial, repentance, and sorrow. We do not mourn as those without hope; Sundays remind us that we know the end from the beginning.
Our proper end is the same end as our Lord’s and so Lent is primarily an opportunity to follow Christ’s example.
For the great love Jesus bears us, he chose this way: the way of lowliness and suffering. Perhaps even more than that: he chose this way of humility because he loved his Father, and his chief desire was to do whatever the Father willed for him.
This example of submission astonishes us. You can see that wonder in St. Paul’s words above and hear it in the reverent notes of Handel’s Messiah. Paul circles around the Lord’s great example of obedience unto death, coming at it first from one angle and then another, seeing it from the beginning (“in Adam all die”) and then from the end (“in Christ shall all be made alive”), and then standing in awe at the conclusion of it: God shall be all in all. This death and this resurrection, this submission and this glorification, this great work of the Son of God … this means everything.
And we are invited into it. As C. S. Lewis said, “You must die before you die. There is no chance after.”
All things will be subject to Christ. But we may start now.
And so in Lent we do. We try to put to death what must be put to death before it must be put to death.
Almighty and everliving God, in your tender love for the human race you sent your Son our Savior Jesus Christ to take upon him our nature, and to suffer death upon the cross, giving us the example of his great humility: Mercifully grant that we may walk in the way of his suffering, and also share in his resurrection; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen. (The Book of Common Prayer)