With the production and release of “Son of God”, people are getting ready for the commemoration of the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. It’s time to celebrate and time for some to learn who Jesus Christ really is. This is the season of Lent that comes right before Resurrection Sunday.
The word “Lent” is derived from an old English word for Spring or “Equinox” (the time when the sun crosses the plane of the earth's equator, making night and day of approximately equal length all over the earth and occurring about March 21 (vernal equinox or spring equinox) and September 22 (autumnal equinox)
The season of Lent and Spring are both a time for hope, growth and renewal. We know Spring as a season of new life, a renewal after the death of wintertime. Leaves begin to appear on bare branches and flowers come forth from the once frozen soil. Below are some examples of this change that comes this time of year and take a look at the Slide Show to see the symbols.
- A “Bare tree” is put up on the first Sunday in Lent. As our faith communities make their Lenten journey, we will see the tree bud and blossom to the fullness of life.
- For the second Sunday of Lent, the “Love” symbolizes the many ways God shows us His Love. Ask yourself which ways God has shown His love to you. (John 3:16, I John 4:7, I Cor. 13:4-7 and Mark 12:30-31)
- The symbols for third Sunday of Lent are as follows: The “Lamb” represents Jesus who is sometimes called the ‘Paschal Lamb’. Jewish law required the sacrifice of an unblemished lamb as an offering to God for the sins committed – Jesus became the final sacrifice for all our sins. His blood was shed for us. (John 1:29, Heb. 10:12). Jesus also is called the “Good Shepherd because He cares for us like a shepherd cared for the sheep in his flock. (Ps. 23:1, John 10:14, Heb. 13:20)
- The “Pretzel” has been used as a Lenten custom for over 1500 years. It was baked by the Germanic people as a symbol or prayer. Its shape resembles arms crossed over the chest, a common posture for prayer among many Christian people. It reminds us of the prayerful attitude we should strive for during this season. (I Thess. 5:17, 25; Eph. 6:18)
- The “Cactus” symbolizes Jesus’ forty days of fasting in the desert after His baptism. He was then tempted three times by satan, just as we are tempted by him today in our lives. (Mat. 4: 1-2)
- “Living water flowing from a Cross” is a symbol added to our Resurrection tree on the fourth Sunday in Lent. The Cross symbolizes Christ’s love for us which is never trapped in a well, but is free-flowing. The Waters of our baptism signify new life as a Christian. All living things need water to grow and flourish – we need Christ’s living water in our lives so that we may have life abundantly. (John 4:10, 7:38, 10:10; I Pet. 3:20-21)
- On the fifth Sunday of Lent, the “Fish” and the “Forgiveness” symbols should be added to the tree. Early Christians frequently used the ‘fish’ as a symbol of Christ. The Greek word for fish has five letters which are the initials of the Greek words meaning “Jesus Christ, God’s Son, Savior” (IXOϒΣ). (Mat. 3:17, 17:5; John 4:42, I John 4:14) The “Forgiveness” figures remind us that forgiveness in our personal lives is essential for new life in Christ. (Mat. 6:12, Mark 11:25, Luke 17:3-4, II Cor. 2: 5-8)
- Palm Sunday is the sixth Sunday of Lent and is represented by the following: “Kingly Crowns with branches of Palm” reminds us of Jesus’ triumphant entry into Jerusalem (John 12:12-14). “Crowns” signify sovereignty and kingship and have also been used as laurels in victory (Ex. 28:36-38, II Chron.23:11, II Tim. 4:8). We are promised a crown of life in Rev. 2:10. Some of the ornaments remind us that a few days later Jesus wore another crown – “One of thorns” (Mark 15:17) and died on the cross for us (John 19: 16-19).
- Our tree, like our lives, is now in full bloom. Some final symbols have been added which are: “Flowers” that started from seeds which had to “die” to the original form in order to ‘Bloom’. “Butterflies”, of course, at one time were caterpillars, that had to “die” to its “old self” to become something new and beautiful. The “Eggs” also symbolize “new life”, a “new creation” like we are in Christ. (Rom. 6:4, 7:6; II Cor. 5: 17; Eph. 4: 22-24; Col. 3: 9-10)
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