Lent – A Season of Renewal

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Lent – A Season of Renewal

+   In 2017   +

Ash Wednesday

March 1, Noon and 7:00 pm

The Sundays in Lent

March 5 – April 2, 10:00 am

Palm/Passion Sunday

April 9, 10:00 am

Lent – A Personal Reflection from Pastor Bonde

It is probably not fair to compare Lent with the rich, six-layer, chocolate birthday cake covered in whipped cream that Mother used to make for us when we were children – not fair because it is traditional to give up sweets in Lent, and even the thought of this cake is a little too tempting. But the image works: Lent is rich and many layered.

Lent was one of those times that involved conversation with my girls and a clear intentionality about our spiritual lives. Before Lent began we negotiated with one another what we should do to observe the season. We always gave up sweets, but what else? And was a graham cracker a cracker or a cookie? But it wasn’t always about what we “gave up”; Anna insisted one year we commit to five servings of fruits and vegetables each day. (That was tougher than it sounded. After a long day and night of work and meetings, who wants to come home to a carrot and a banana because you are still two down? At least let me eat pretzels!)

Those conversations with Anna and Megan were important at creating lives lived in the light of a greater reality than our daily concerns and interests. What do we need to do together to remember those in need? Volunteer at the shelter? Buy extra groceries every week for the food pantry?

Among Anna’s things when we went to clean out her dorm room in the aftermath of her death at the hands of a driver who had been drinking was a Lenten quarter folder half filled (she was killed in mid Lent) with little slips of paper that listed different random acts of kindness she had done as her Lenten discipline. I know I didn’t think much about Lent when I was in college, but our Lenten practice had clearly shaped her life.

So Lent is about prayer and fasting, charity and works of mercy, worship and prayer, all the disciplines that help shape a life of compassion and justice, a life being carved into the image of the one who healed the sick and opened blind eyes and laid down his life for us.

It is a time of taking faith seriously, of choosing to be a little bit hungry so others don’t have to be so hungry, of choosing to turn anew towards those paths that speak and live the mercy of God.

Lent is a time of rich traditions like soup suppers and evening prayer. It is a time of rich purple – after the purple cloak thrown around Jesus when the soldiers mocked him for the claim that he was a king. It is a time of rich liturgies like Ash Wednesday and Palm Sunday. It is a time that journeys towards the wonder of Good Friday and Easter.

Lent is for me what others hope from New Year’s – a time of good changes, of spiritual centering, of returning to what is truly healing and life giving,

(And it makes the chocolate eggs on Easter all that much sweeter!)

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