By Leslie Criss/NEMS Daily Journal
“One of the wonderful things about the Lenten season is a sense of being in process. Lent is our springtime of new growth and renewed life. Lent is the season to realize that God is continually creating; that God’s grace is continually moving through us.”
– Source unknown
Though I’m one of those quirky “cradle Episcopalians,” I’ve always had a difficult time offering a simple explanation to folks curious about Lent.
In a nutshell, Lent is the 40-day liturgical season that takes us to Easter.
For many, Lent is a time of prayer and fasting, a time of preparation.
In a long-ago Confirmation class, I was taught by the priest at All Saints’ Episcopal Church in my hometown of Grenada that I should choose something to give up during Lent.
He said whatever I gave up, I should save the money I would’ve spent on it and put it in my mite box to offer up on Easter Sunday. (Mite box? That’s another explanation for another day.)
Apparently I missed the part about giving up something that means something, something the loss of which might have an impact, make me feel I’d sacrificed something.
I was too busy listening to my giggling classmates talking about giving up watermelon for Lent.
Whether due to peer pressure or just plain childishness, it sounded like a good idea to me.
A few years later, still wallowing in my spiritual ignorance, I gave up bubble gum the Lent I had braces on my teeth and bubble gum was forbidden anyway.
Then I grew up a little and suffered through a 40-day virtual desert with no soft drinks. I remember shooting up a lot of spontaneous prayers for strength when I’d pass a Coke machine. Often the Dr Pepper jingle of the day would play constantly in my head. But I persevered.
By Lent’s end, I felt a sense of accomplishment. I felt more disciplined.
And finally, I understood.
Lent made even more sense to me when I learned you could also take something on.
And for the past few decades, I’ve alternated between giving something up and taking something on.
This Lent, I am going to work on taking better care of myself – eating more healthfully and becoming more active.
Whatever your Lenten tradition, I wish for you a time of peaceful reflection that might make your Easter one of amazement.