Lent is more than a season where we fast from something. Lent is a season where together, as a body of believers, we prepare and anticipate the full impact of Easter.
And, no, it’s not just for Catholics.
I have not always celebrated or observed Lent, but I am coming to see the value in setting time apart to fully participate in this season. The word “lent” comes from the word for spring. As I look out the window at the frozen ground, I often feel like winter will never end. I am looking forward to spring. In the middle of this sometimes bleak mid-winter, I need to be reminded Easter will come.
But Lent is more than just looking ahead. This can be a fruitful season of preparation. It is a season of repentance. It’s about re-centering our will to God’s.
As the Church celebrates Lent, we are remembering the divine narrative leading to the Cross. We are Easter people, living on this side of the cross. By embracing Lent, we live through a journey in the wilderness. We embody grief and recognize our finiteness, knowing on Easter, God’s love story is completed with an empty grave.
So, I have been reading some articles and sermons about Lent. There is a lot of information out there. Today I am linking some posts I have really enjoyed. As I continue to read posts and tweets, I am making a running list of links. It’s my goal to post my favorite five posts I have read in the week each Tuesday.
“The Wilderness Exam” by Rev. Barbara Brown Taylor
“The problem for most of us is that we cannot go straight from setting down the cell phone to hearing the still, small voice of God in the wilderness. If it worked like that, churches would be full and Verizon would be out of business. If it worked like that, Lent would only be about twenty minutes long.
“What we have instead are forty whole days for finding out what life is like without the usual painkillers, which is how most of us learn what led us to use them in the first place. Once you take the headphones off, silence can be really loud. Once you turn off the television, a night can get really long. After a while you can start thinking that all of this quiet emptiness or, worst case, all this howling wilderness, is a sign of things gone badly wrong: devil on the loose, huge temptations, no help from the audience, God gone AWOL–not to mention your own spiritual insufficiency to deal with any of these things.
“When the Lenten Fast is Privilege” by Krista Dalton:
“I am mindful of the ways my life runs on habit, the many ways I can go through my day without recognizing the injustice around me. The lenten season calls us to remember our privilege, to recognize the ways our life runs on rhythm, unaware of the intersections of injustice. Today, I allow the ash to disrupt my rhythm, so that I might hear the rhythms of others.”
“What Really Changed After The Resurrection? (A Challenge For Lent)” from The American Jesus:
“In other words, if the kingdom of God is really at hand, the only way people are going to notice is if we become the physical embodiment of the kingdom of God on earth as it is in heaven. Only if we take seriously our call to be the hands and feet of Christ in the world, doing justly and loving mercy, will anyone ever be convinced that the resurrection really did happen and something really did change and really is changing as the result.”
“Into the Wild: A Lenten Homily Not About Temptation” by David R. Henson
“Because, to me, Lent isn’t really about temptation and how to resist it. It’s not about white-knuckling it through our cravings for caffeine, chocolate, snarky comments or whatever else we’ve chosen to do without for this season.”
“An Invitation to be Lonely” by Micha Boyett
“Death is the journey we must make alone. And faith in Jesus is the hope that our lonely journey brings us to a new world, a restored body, the kind of relational wholeness we always imagined was possible.
“Until then, maybe loneliness is a good practice in death. Maybe Lent is the best time to close the computer, scrub the toilet, and remember that I am dust and I will return to the dust I came from.”
What have you been reading during Lent? Have you been writing or reflecting? If you’ve written something you would like to share, please feel free to comment.
Together, we journey toward the Cross.