-Rev Melissa Fain-
I'm not going to lie to you. Since I was eight, and first learned about Lent, I've wanted to joke about this homonym. Now that I've done it, I've got no regrets.
No, Lent isn't the fuzz you pull out of your dryer. That kind of lint is ugly and should be thrown away. This kind of Lent is beautiful if used correctly.
Lent is the 40 days, once you subtract the Sundays, before Easter. The timing is symbolic of wilderness time. The Israelites wandered the desert for 40 years. Jesus was in the Wilderness for 40 days before beginning his ministry.
Now all of us, whether we are lifetime church goers or not, can pinpoint the beginning of Lent. The day before Lent is Mardi Gras, or Fat Tuesday. As a kid, I had no idea that Mardi Gras was purposefully always the day before then Lenten season. I've heard crazy stories of drunkenness, nakedness and general debauchery tied to the New Orleans event. That's because it was traditionally supposed to be used as the last day to use your fat and yeast in your kitchen. Also, if you had red meat- cook it. A traditional fast doesn't use any of these, so Fat Tuesday was the day to make them worth something before one fasted. Mardi Gras, however, has kinda taken on a life of it's own. Maybe we'll get into that next week. Today, we continue on Lent.
Coming from a Protestant tradition, I was taught Lent was a time to give up a vice.I can still remember being introduced to Lenten time by being given a bag of chocolate, and then being told we shouldn't eat it until Easter. That was the first time I considered the shelf life of chocolate.
Age has diversified and deepened many of my views, including Lent. This is less about giving something up, and more about preparing for Easter. This is why the season happens before it. True, one can give up sweet, smooth chocolaty goodness to prepare but, one could also choose to start morning prayers. It's about preparing and preparing takes takes both forms of giving up and taking on. For example, the Wilderness helped the Israelites give up servitude, but it also helped them pick up personal leadership. It helped them give up the Egyptian ways, but pick up God's ways. It helped them prepare to be their own people.
This is my questioning, how are you deepening your Christian journey by preparing for Easter? What are you doing for Lent?
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