From the Pastor’s Deck

Dear PPPC –

If you were surprised to learn on Tuesday that Lent began on Wednesday, you were not alone. I find that it is often the case when Easter is early, and therefore Lent is early; the season sneaks up on us.

I find the Lenten Season to be both deeply formative and practically challenging. There have been years when it’s clear that I need to receive the invitation of Lent and actively participate in the season…and there are years when it’s clear to me that Lent should be more in the background (usually when all of life feels Lenten). This year, the Holy Spirit may be inviting you to more actively participate, or you may find yourself invited to quietly let the season unfold around and within you. Whichever is more true for you this year, hear it clearly: Lent is an invitation and should be treated as such.

Lent is old, like super old. It’s one of the oldest-known traditions in the Church. We have documents referencing Lent from the second century, which means it’s a time-weathered tradition and practice in the Christian Life.

Most people associate Lent with the act of fasting, or giving up something…and that’s a fair and reasonable association for this season of penance. But to many modern minds, fasting is not just eliminating something, but it can also mean adding something. Perhaps this year, you will choose to add something to your life that helps you feel more connected to God.

However, before you discern what you might add or subtract (I encourage you to consider adding something), allow me to offer some helpful parameters:

  1. Lent isn’t about doing some sort of personal quest. It’s not “Mark Wahlberg’s 40-Day Challenge,” as the media described it last year. Although that freeze-frame of him on the morning show always makes me laugh…and it reminds me that society doesn’t really quite know what to make of the counter-cultural season of Lent. The focus of Lent isn’t to better yourself by personal grit and effort.
  2. You will mess up. In some ways, this is the point. Not to watch yourself fail spectacularly with guilt and shame, BUT to have tangible evidence of your own human finiteness. You need the grace of Christ.
  3. Lent is LONG, and we often take on too much at the beginning. It can be good to start small.
  4. Why take on something new at all? Deeper union with Christ. Consider your participation as an act of worship.

Now, let me ask again. Is there a thing you’d like to give up? It’s how we practice the feeling of being stripped down. Is there something you’d like to take up instead? Every season is different, so choose something that helps you feel more connected to God. Choose something that creates space in your life for God, for the Divine to be further revealed.

See you in church!

Yours for the journey,
Pastor Molly