Baptist’s don’t do traditions. At least that’s what we tell ourselves. We of course celebrate Easter. Christmas, Sunday services, Communion once a month, quarterly Member’s meetings. Aside from that…
What I think concerns a Baptist about ‘traditions’ is church might become a mindless practice, without authentic faith. There is this danger, but we miss what traditions do offer. Habit, regularity, practicing what matters, avoiding trends, building depth over time. I have tried to help our church practice at least 2 key times from the Church calendar a year – Lent and Advent.
Lent is the 40 days before Easter. Over this time Christians from many different traditions fast by giving up something for Lent. To fast means we eat something we want or don’t engage in some activity we prefer. The fast begins on Ash Wednesday (March 2) and ends on Easter Sunday. The 40 days of Lent do not include Sundays, as on these days the Lent fast is broken to celebrate Jesus’ resurrection. Often people fast from different foods, but it can include other things.
Of course, such traditions can be misused or abused, but the best idea behind Lent is to prepare us for celebrating Easter by fasting to focus on Jesus. Lent can be helpful. The fast can remind us daily of Jesus’ sacrifice and combined with scripture and prayer deepens our relationship with God.
During Lent our Link articles will bring a brief devotional each week on Jesus’ journey to the cross. We will have an Ash Wednesday service, 7.30pm at church on March 2. Could I encourage you to consider before this Ash Wednesday what you might do over Lent? What will you fast? Is there a temptation or habit you need to bring before God for 40 days – so you might see more victory in your life? I am looking forward to the 40-day journey and what this might mean for our church. How about you?