I haven’t been observing Lent this year, per say. I am aware of the church calendar and know that this is the fourth week of Lent, but that is the extent of my Lenten observances. It is not that I am trying to avoid Lent, but some of the natural activities that would normally help me observe/participate in the season of Lent are absent from my life this season.
For starters, the Sunday Chapel services at SBS are not Lent-focused. I know the School plans to have a Maundy Thursday service before the students leave for Easter Break, but I think that is the extent of any Lent-related services. Individual faculty members, depending on their church background, have mentioned Lent and items they have given up this season. Also, the church we are currently attending (when we don’t have to be at Chapel) isn’t including any Lenten readings or prayers in the service.
Last year at this time I was keenly aware of Lent. I was part of a Tuesday night women’s group that observed Lent together, and each Sunday at church particular care was taken to move through the Lenten season slowly and thoughtfully. In addition, I was planning Chapel services at Live Oak that focused on this season in the church calendar.
This raises all sorts of thoughts and questions in my mind. I didn’t grow up in a church background that followed the church calendar. I do remember, however, lighting Advent candles and reading specific passages of scripture. I wonder if Lent was (is?) viewed as more of a Catholic tradition. Really, I don’t know and I should find out why some churches will note the season of Advent and not do much with Lent. I am also wondering how Easter will seem this year when I haven’t gone through the long weeks of Lent preparing and waiting for the Resurrection. Will it seem like I just tried to avoid the somberness to get to the good stuff? Kathleen Norris does a good job describing Lent in her book The Cloister Walk. The prayers, the readings, and the quietness of the season made Easter all the more joyful for her. I have more questions than answers about Lent at the moment.
For today, let me close with the daily meditation from Creighton University’s online ministry for praying Lent.
Lead us to the joy of Easter.
We are still aware of our patterns.
We still are realigning our priorities.
We are still trying to simplify and trying to eat in solidarity with others.
Most of all, we are still asking for a change of heart.
Let hearts rejoice who search for the Lord.
Seek the Lord and his strength,
seek always the face of the Lord.