First Week of Lent: Feb 14-20 Reflection - Meade Baker
In the summer of 2014, Hurricane Arthur swept up the East Coast with wind speeds up to 100 miles per hour. I remember the storm well because I was in a tiny, 24-foot long sailboat anchored off Mt. Misery Point in the Hudson Bay. When the storm swept through, it violently shook me and my crew mates like a paint can for nearly eight hours. We were battered, bruised, soaked and exhausted. It was the most terrifying and uncomfortable night of my life. Fortunately our anchor held allowing us to live and tell a good story.
I learned something about how anchors work through that experience. Anchors are not just heavy weights you drop over the side of the boat. Anchors are equipped with two fins called flukes. The flukes are hinged so that as the wind and waves pull the boat, the flukes dig deeper and deeper into the ocean floor. The harder the wind pulls, the more the flukes hold the boat.
Anchors represent how the gospel works in the life of a Christian. The more a storm tries to destroy us, the more we dig into the meaning of Christ’s work and remain secure. Unfortunately, the default setting on my heart and yours is tuned to quickly forget the gospel. Not literally, of course, but experientially. For me, I tend to ground my self-worth in the insecure foundation of my own performance instead of Christ. When a storm rocks my life, usually in the form of criticism or failure, the degree to which I forget my gospel identity is the degree to which that storm destroys me.
Enter Lent. Lent is an period of the year where the body of Christ purposefully practices paying attention to the sacrifice of Christ on our behalf. Lent is a seasonal exercise in grounding ourselves in the work of Christ. Most people know it is traditional to practice some form of self denial during Lent. That is not because Lent is some kind of Christian diet plan. Rather Lent functions to build reminders of Christ into your day. When you give something up, the experience of its absence prompts you to remember Jesus’ work on your behalf. Lent is like spiritual exercise. Just like the repetition of physical exercise makes you stronger. The repetition of the spiritual exercise of remembering the cross of Christ makes you more deeply anchored in the only foundation on earth that will never be destroyed by a storm.
To read more Lenten reflections, visit our Lent/Easter page and download our Lent Prayerbook to follow along with us this season!