The point of the Lenten season is to reflect on Jesus, which given the theme of the season and what we are leading up to (crucifixion/resurrection), means that we are reflecting upon his suffering. Suffering is something that no one really wants to talk about, but I think that is the problem with our understanding of the subject today.
Over the last several years of doing pastoral care, a phrase I hear often from those absent from the bedside of those suffering in hospitals is, “I just can’t go in there; I don’t want to remember them that way.” When this choice is made, the persons often fail to make a true and intimate connection with those who are suffering. They never really can say they knew the whole person and the cycle of grief runs the risk of never being completed because there is a crucial and intimate “missing piece,” or maybe “missing peace.” The same is true in the spiritual life.
When we fail to look at Jesus on the cross, we fail to develop the oneness that comes from being with him through thick and thin. Most people want to simply remember Jesus walking on water, calming the storm, or raizing Lazarus from the dead. But to be there with Jesus at the cross is what it means to complete the journey. But it’s not just about completion, but about taking the next step. And what is the next step after being there in the midst of his suffering? His resurrection; a resurrection that we are meant to take part in. That oneness that we have developed with Christ makes us one with him in life, in death, and in new life.
Rather than me attempting to provide you with some inspirational nugget, let your observation of the season of Lent guide you into “a closer walk with Thee,” to quote the hymn. Begin your journey of exploration, curiosity, depth, and newness by heading to a church celebrating the season. Receive upon your head the ashes that represent your repentence. Start with Christ, from life, to death, to new life. Reflect on Jesus.