We preachers often wonder whether our words have any effect. The people we preach to and the world around us pretty much look the same week after week. It doesn’t often look like the Good News has caught fire in people’s hearts. It doesn’t look like the reign of God is being built. For all our efforts to preach the Good News, how come it looks like nothing much is changing?
Let’s be honest: The observation of Lent is often reduced to artificially somber and ritualistic practices of self-denial without an honest, whole-hearted attempt to genuinely experience the flow and meaning of the season. The “practices” undertaken involve simply giving up chocolate or wine. That’s suffering for Jesus, for sure, but what does it accomplish if we’re not focused meaningfully on what we should be? So I’d like to suggest that in our preaching, we shake things up a bit. Let’s preach a countercultural Lent.