I like finding clever sayings on church signboards. For example: “Whoever is praying for a white Christmas, please stop, or we’ll soon end up with a white Easter!”
You may know that Minnesota Twins baseball has been a huge part of my life, so it will come as no surprise that the following church-sign message is one of my favorites: Lent is Spring Training; Easter is Opening Day!
Opening Day of baseball season (which, if you asked me, should be a national holiday) is a universal day of celebration in the baseball world. It’s that day when “Hope springs eternal” for every team. It’s a day when fans are so thrilled to have baseball back that we’ll even sit on frozen seats bundled in parkas, long johns, wool socks and scarves in 32-degree temps for 3+ hours! Easter is the day we celebrate the greatest event in the history of the world! It’s a day when folks will stand outside at sunrise in freezing temps playing trumpets, guitars and singing to celebrate the fact that Jesus came back from the dead. A day when “Hope springs eternal” - literally - as Jesus’ resurrection proved He’d won the victory over our greatest enemies: sin, death and Satan.
But Opening Day would never happen without Spring Training, roughly forty days teams use to get in shape for Opening Day. Whoever compared Lent to Spring Training was onto something! Lent is a forty-day time when we prepare for celebrating Jesus’ victory. It’s typically a somber time when we’re reminded of our sinfulness - our tendency to do the opposite of what God’s designed us to do. It makes sense to prepare for Easter by being reminded of our sin. I mean, how can you celebrate a victory over sin unless you first admit that you need someone to save you from it?!
One way we typically “get in shape” during Lent is by repenting - turning away from sin and walking in God’s ways. You may try to get in shape by “giving something up” or by “taking something up.” Whichever you choose, one thing is for sure, you’ll realize just how much sin is like snowstorms: As soon as you shovel out from one, here comes another!
The simple truth is: Just like we need the sun to ultimately do away with the snow, we need The Son to ultimately do away with sin - we can never shovel it away!
Pastor David Dauk