Thursday, March 3, 2011

The Season of Lent -- Depressing or Deeping?

Unlike many people in the church Lent is my favorite season of the Christian year. How did this happen you might ask? How did a happy energetic sort of person like me come to long for the 6 weeks where we sing dark, and as some people describe them, dreary hymns that live in the minor key? A season where we refrain from saying Hallelujah, and where we often give up something like chocolate or caffeine?


I embraced the journey of lent, the discipline of walking towards Easter through special services and events that help to bring the story of Jesus ministry and his last week before death, alive.


I like to use the 5 weeks of lent and Holy Week to enter into the mystery of my faith, to reflect on what I believe and how I live out my faith in the world. It is about making space for God in my busy life. It is about letting go of patterns and relationships and activities in my life that keep me from hearing God and answering my call.


For many of us who are living in the northern hemisphere and dealing with the long cold winter, we have come to believe that the word "Lent" comes from the same root as "length," which refers to the fact that as each day passes the sun last longer lengthening the days. Others have come to believe that the word "Lent" derives from the Latin word lentare which means "to bend," which supports the idea that Lent is really about being intentional, and about deepening our relationship with God in preparation for the Easter transformation.



So here's what I propose you do:
1. Start by coming to the pancake dinner in preparation for starting the lenten season.
2. Create a daily ritual for yourself that involves a few moments of silence and prayer.
3. Come to the Ash Wednesday service (see website for times of the various services).
4. Begin reading the Gospel of Matthew over the next several weeks or rent a few Jesus movies.
5. Don't miss the Palm Sunday service where we will wave the palms symbolizing Jesus entry into Jerusalem.
6. Go to the evening Vesper services during Holy Week including the Maundy Thursday service.
7. Attend the Good Friday service and hear the story of Jesus last days through music and dramatic word.
8. Come to the Vigil on Saturday April 23rd beginning at 8pm and experience what it would have been like to wait and hold vigil after Jesus died.
9. Finish this all off by coming to the Sunrise service the next day followed by breakfast and if you are still up for it, join us for the big Easter celebration at the regular service.





Through all of these experiences ask yourself:

  • How do these events speak to me?
  • As I follow Jesus and his ministry how is my life transformed?

  • What are my fears that hold me back from living the life God is calling me to live?


My hope is that you will consider entering into this season with an open heart, ready to be engaged in surprising new ways. May we live in hope till Easter Day!


Written by Karen J. Bridges

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