The Easter season is upon us and for some Christians this is known as the Lenten season. It begins with Ash Wednesday, where we remember that we are dust, and to dust we shall return. However you observe Lent or not, this season can be a deeply formational one when we take to heart the words penned by Moses in Psalm 90:12.
Teach us to number our days,Psalm 90:12
that we may gain a heart of wisdom.
What does it mean to number our days and how will doing it give us wisdom? Numbering our days means we sit with the reality that we are frail and limited. It means we face our mortality. Our culture screams at us to avoid this. We’re offered a flood of options to distract us from thinking about our vapory lives. (See James 4:14 for the vapor reference.) We’re distracted by possessions, beauty, fitness, celebrity, grand travel experiences, and an excess of other choices. Anything to keep from thinking about the truth of our mortality.
Not Left There
But the Bible encourages us to consider these things. Because when we number our days, we’ll learn not to be satisfied with lesser things and begin living more freely and intentionally. In the words of the Every Moment Holy Lenten Journal Guide, “We might instead live our lives investing our days in what is eternal, in love and service to others, and in the advancing of the kingdom of God through good stewardship of the moments, relationships, talents and resources entrusted to us.”
We’re not left in the gloom of our mortality. The Easter season moves us toward the glory of the Resurrection, not only the resurrection of Jesus, but the promise of our own, and eternal life.
And with this wisdom we live our lives and take with us the hope that does not disappoint. We thank the Giver of Life and come to know Him better and better. We learn to give and receive love. We rejoice with those who rejoice and mourn with those who mourn. We realize the significance of our lives and we live like it matters. As David Fitch writes in his book Faithful Presence, when we live this way together, God “becomes uniquely present and visible.”
The practice of numbering our days can be as simple as asking ourselves a few questions and reflecting on them throughout the season. The questions below are from Frederick Buechner’s Listening to Your Life Daily Meditations and The Every Moment Holy Lenten Journal Guide.
- What things have you invested in that begin to pale and seem less significant in light of the knowledge that life is brief?
- Of all the things you have done in your life, which is the one you would most like to undo? Which is the one that makes you happiest to remember?
- What are your deepest hopes for the days that remain before you?
- In what ways during this season might your soul begin to journey from death to life? From despair to hope? From brokenness to restoration?
Another resource I have followed for several years is The Lent Project. It’s a free daily devotional sent straight to your email when you subscribe. They are going through the entire Gospel of John for this year’s theme. However we go through this Easter season:
May the Lord and Father of us all recenter our hearts and hope in Him. May He change us, restore us, and use us.
If you’re new to the observation of Lent and want more information, or if you’d like other suggestions on how to observe it, feel free to contact me. I have other resources I can share.