In normal times the period of Lent is a time of serenity, soberness, self-denial, abstinence and contemplation. But, I can fully understand when someone has had enough of it by now during this period of lock-down and confinement to the same place.
When we mentioned removing flowers from within the church, because of Lent, people asked us please let the flowers remain in church. This was because they were looking for some colourful signs of hope and encouragement when they entered the church for some quiet moments. Indeed, it is the church, which should be the place where we’re always reminded of the colourful richness of God’s goodness together with His care and hope in all circumstances.
During Lent we usually remember the suffering of Jesus and His way to the cross from when He entered Jerusalem, less than a week before. However, during His last few days, He held the Sabbath meal for the Jewish Pascha with His disciples, which He called His friends.
In Luke 22:15, it is written how Jesus said: I have earnestly/eagerly desired to eat this Passover with you… To know the exact reason why Jesus was eagerly delighted (as the original Greek also means) to have a meal with His friends remains unknown, but it shows how Jesus was looking forward having a meeting with His friends.
When Jesus was looking forward to moments of joy and having friends around Him during His suffering, it is difficult to argue that we should deny the same for ourselves when we are observing the period of Lent.
Unfortunately, we are not yet in a position of sharing with friends again and we might be eagerly waiting for the moment it becomes possible. But, in this period of Lent we then share this experience with Jesus Who also had to wait eagerly before He could share the Passover meal with His friends.
Perhaps this year we concentrate on Lent as not only a time of sadness, but also a time of eagerly waiting to share friendships again. At least we can then say that we share one thing with Jesus in this period of Lent, which is the desire to be able to meet with our friends again.