Julie’s Jar: Lent is a Spring Time Festival of the Soul



I walked into her office and saw this cross stitch on the wall: tulips, daffodils, hyacinths and crocus in various stages of opening and various colors. Underneath the flowers was the word, “Lente”. In Dutch “Lente” means “Spring”. I knew that the word was “lent” was related to “Spring” in some way but here was etymological proof of it!

Wytske Visser, the Executive Director of Hope Partners, created the cross stitch that hangs in her office where she can see it every day. Every day she is reminded that Spring is a time of new life and transformation. Every day she is reminded that her own Christian faith patterns itself in the promise of new life and transformation.

Beauty emerges in Spring. The season of Lent is our time to allow the beauty that God has planted in each of us to emerge more fully. Sometimes this means pruning and weeding parts that cover up and choke out the beauty within. Are there activities in your life that don’t serve your creative presence in the world that you could prune away? Are there extra, invasive attitudes that keep compassion and hope from the sunshine of your spirit?

In the church, Lent was, and still is, a time in which people preparing for baptism consider how their life will be transformed as they follow Jesus. This preparation is a process of converting more to the way of Jesus. It is also an opportunity for those who have made the commitment to follow Jesus to reorient our living.

Let the love of God grow in you and the light of Christ shine more brightly in your life. Seek out the practices that help God’s love to grow and Christ’s light to shine in you. These are the practices that coax the beauty God has already planted in you to emerge more fully so you can be fruitful, bearing the fruits of the Spirit that bring delight and hope, compassion and love, into your life and into the lives of the people around you.


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