For me, Lent has always been a difficult season to understand. I have given up different things in the past, and last year even had a spiritual director who helped me consider a number of Lenten themes. But I am someone who really needs to try to grasp everything that goes past me, including with theology—I need it to make sense for me. Lent is so involved with ideas of atonement that don’t always make intuitive sense to me. And to be honest, I haven’t ever really had a clear idea of what I’m actually ‘preparing’ for.
Something that did make sense to me, though, came when I first read about James Cone’s work—among others, in a book called Said I Wasn’t Gonna Tell Nobody. It’s about his laying the groundwork for black theology out of his own experience of what it means to be black in America, and in particular deals with the meaning of the Cross. He says that inasmuch as Jesus died ‘for us’, he really died ‘with us’. That this was God’s way of telling us that God is present with us in all of our suffering, and in everything we go through.
As I reflect on Lent now, that makes a lot of sense to me