Lent

This is a reprint of my column from the February 2020 Carillon Notes. Read the whole newsletter here.

The weather in Iowa can change in a moment. Right now, while I’m writing this newsletter column, I can see snow outside my window, the temperature is below freezing, and the forecast says there are snow showers on the schedule. It’s a far cry from the unseasonably warm temperatures we were enjoying at the end of the year. And it might even be warm and sunny again by the time you read this.

The rhythm of the meteorological seasons is changing. But the rhythms of our liturgical seasons remains as steady as ever. At the end of February, we will mark Ash Wednesday with our friends from the United Methodist Church and officially begin the season of Lent: the 40 days—not including Sundays—leading up to Easter.

As Protestants, we don’t usually make a big deal out of Lent. Some of us will take ashes and we will retire the alleluia, but most of us—your pastor included—don’t fast or take on other Lenten disciplines. 

But Lent is a season of penitence before the resurrection of Christ. It is a time to think about—and to practice—living in ways that more fully imitate the life of our savior. So, this Lent, I encourage you to take on a discipline, whether that is daily prayer, reading the Bible, saving money to give to charity, or even fasting in some way.

Most of all, I encourage you to follow the advice of one fourth century archbishop: let your hands fast from greed, your feet from running after sin, your eyes from judgment, your ears from listening to evil, and your mouths from harsh words. And through this, may your life reflect the light of Jesus Christ.

Have a blessed February and a blessed Lent!

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