A Lenten Confession

by Karen Kinnaird
CRBC Spiritual Formation Team Coordinator

The year was 2005. Council Road was preparing to fully observe the Lent season under the direction of new pastor, Rick Thompson.  At the time, I was directing the Wednesday night children’s programming. Plans were being made for a new Ash Wednesday evening service.

To give some background to my confession, my husband and I served in New Orleans for thirteen years where Catholicism is the predominant religion. It was in New Orleans that we attended seminary, planted a church and spent a significant amount of time sharing our faith and discipling people whose families observed Catholic traditions for generations. In my experience, it was difficult work reaching those who tie faith into a religion that they are born into and to explain that salvation is by faith in Christ alone.

The brutal confession—observing Lent in a Baptist church irritated me. After all, why observe a Catholic tradition which I thought was, in part, holding back those who were truly seeking a personal relationship with Christ? In addition, my plans for Wednesday night programming, which required a predetermined number of sessions, was being interrupted!

I begrudgingly complied and skeptically attended the Ash Wednesday service. Sitting in the balcony, I prayed, “Lord, I might as well get something out of this. If there is something you want me to do, please show me.” I was immediately convicted of my bad attitude. God clearly spoke to me and showed me what He wanted me to give up for forty days. It was a daily thirty-minute TV show. Now, this is a show that many wouldn’t give a second thought, but it had a hold on me. For several reasons, God did not want me viewing it. Interestingly enough, I have not watched it since—in fifteen years.

My family moved to another city that year, but this year we’re back at Council Road. I am reading Pastor Rick’s devotional book The Way of the Cross and learning more about this unique ancient Christian tradition. Lent dates back to 325 A.D. and is a season of reflection and preparation when Christians seek to honor Jesus’ sacrifice for forty days before Easter. Pastor Rick writes, “As evangelicals, we distinguish our theology from Catholicism, but that does not mean we should thoughtlessly abolish certain long traditions simply because Catholics have maintained them. I believe God has preserved certain ancient traditions within His church over time to challenge and renew the hearts of His people.” 

This year, I pray you will be challenged and your heart renewed. I pray that you will participate in Lent by praying about either taking something away or adding something new. I pray you’ll have a keen sense of conviction and that the Lord will speak clearly as we honor His sacrifice together.

Karen Kinnaird