So, it’s Lent again.
I grew up in a family that had Catholic roots but attended a Methodist church which means that I grew up celebrating Lent. As I’ve gotten older, I’ve attended a lot of churches that were either non-denominational or, if not Baptist, Baptist-adjacent. Most of these churches have stepped so far away from liturgical practices and the church calendar that they don’t even know what Lent is.
But it’s still important to me.
For those who aren’t from a church background or who may have grown up in one of these anti-liturgy churches, let me give some explanation. I’ll keep it brief.
Lent is the 40 days leading up to Easter. Easter, of course, is when we celebrate the resurrection of Jesus of Nazareth – a pretty big deal for Christians. Lent, however, is a remembrance of the death of Jesus. It’s a time of reflection and mourning. It’s a wonderfully paradoxical holiday in the life of the church. We celebrate death. We mourn someone who didn’t stay dead. It’s truly an exercise in empathy. We have to imagine that we don’t know how the easter story ends so that we can feel the depth of the sacrifice that was made.
As someone who grew up in a liturgical environment, I find it fascinating that, while Lent is bracketed by two VERY well-known and celebrated holidays (Mardi Gras and Easter), it is generally forgotten and ignored by most Christians in America.
So I try to celebrate Lent every year. The traditional way to celebrate Lent is to give something up for the duration – a sort of fast – and, whenever you want said thing or think about said thing, you’ll be reminded of the sacrifice that Christ made on the cross. In fact, that’s why Mardi Gras is such a bacchanal. It’s a celebration of excess before a season of fasting. Yes, Mardi Gras started as a religious holiday. A less common way to celebrate, however, is to ADD something. To DO something every day as a spiritual discipline which reminds you of what Jesus DID for the world on the cross.
This Lent, that’s what I’m doing. I’m adding something.
I’m adding writing. Every day of Lent, I will write something – something small – that points to God and reminds me of the purpose of Lent and Easter. I’ll post some of them up here.
I hope you enjoy them.