Wednesday marks the beginning of Lent, 40 days in the Christian church calendar preceding Easter.
Perhaps you think of Lent as a morbid time when we all have to get super serious, give up stuff, and consider how terrible we are.
It is like that for many. But it doesn’t have to be like that for you.
I offer some suggestions that may help you think about and engage in Lent differently this year.
Every religion has seasons of penitence and reflection. That is good for the soul.
But perhaps your soul needs watering. Maybe you’ve been in a dessert for way too long; your grass is withered and you need refreshment.
Maybe you just feel distant, not only from God, but from your true self.
Or perhaps you know it’s just time to step back a bit and reflect on things that matter.
As Richard Rohr wrote in his introduction to Wondrous Encounters: Scripture for Lent:
“There are two moments that matter. One is when you know that your one and only life is absolutely valuable and alive. The other is when you know your life, as presently lived, is entirely pointless and empty. You need both of them to keep you going in the right direction. Lent is about both.”
Rohr offers the idea that Lent can be a time to be fully known. “Allow yourself to be fully known,” he wrote, “and you will know what you need to know.” Or as social reformer and Saint, Teresa of Avila, wrote in the 16th century: “We find God in ourselves, and we find ourselves in God.”
I invite you to set aside this season for reflection, to be known, and to bask in the love of The Divine. After all, that is what the season is all about: passionate, loving redemption.
Here are just a handful of refreshing resources you may find helpful:
Wondrous Encounters: Scripture for Lent by Richard Rohr. The small book is available in print or as an eBook. I downloaded the Kindle version in about 5 seconds from Amazon. I found Rohr’s Advent devotional book so great, I decided to try this one. I consider Rohr one of my spiritual teachers.
Philosopher Peter Rollins offers an online course called, Atheism for Lent. It’s not cheap (starts at $40), but promises to be a compelling experience. I’ve heard great things about it.
Click here to read my Lenten article from a previous year on Spiritual Adjustment practices in multiple religions.
Royalty-free image by Dave Tuepah in Ontario, Canada; Retrieved from: http://www.freeimages.com/photo/327666