Lent is a great leveler.
In ancient Israel, the Jewish Temple had a series of courts with walls and gates between them. Gentiles could enter one court; women another; Jewish males the innermost. If a Gentile or a woman ventured past their walls, death might follow.
The irony should be obvious. While God made all humanity equal, the Jews worshiped Him in a place that enforced divisions. The Temple definitely created insiders and outsiders. With this in mind, Paul’s statement in Ephesians 2:14 (“Jesus broke down the barrier of the dividing wall”) speaks powerfully. No more walls. No more separated courts. The end of segregation.
Lent reinforces this equality. Anyone may pursue God. This season belongs to everyone; not the ecclesiastical elite, the spiritually adept, or the theologically educated. We may all pursue Christ in this way. No walls. No courts.
And if Lent reminds us of our equality, perhaps it also calls us to unity. Just as the ancient divisions in the Temple honored neither God nor man, so division still diminishes us. Our Journey of Lent might include—must include—our rejection of judgmentalism, elitism, and division.
Today, how can we nurture unity, to honor the One for Whom we fast? How shall we speak and act to “break down the barrier of the dividing wall” and thus honor Christ?
Father, forgive me for the barriers I build between me and others. Reveal my prejudices and show me how to encourage those around me. For Your glory. Amen.