“I invite you, therefore, in the name of the Church, to the observane of a holy Lent, by self-examination ad repentance; by prayer, fasting, and self-denial; and by reading and meditating on God’s holy Word.” (BCP, 265)
Lent is one of the most important seasons of the Christian year. It is a time of preparation that gets us ready to acknowledge the brutal events of Holy Week, particularly Christ’s death on the cross, and then to celebrate the incredible good news of Easter, that Christ is raised.
Those events stand at the very heart of our faith. And yet they can become so familiar that they cease to shock and amaze us. We begin to take them for granted. Lent is the antidote for this attitude.
One of the duties of Lent is self-examination and repentance. We pause to acknowledge the ways we have turned away from God and to commit ourselves to turning back.
A second duty is fasting and self-denial. What that means in practice varies significantly from person to person, but all of us should give something up or take something on. The point is not suffering for its own sake. The point is to act in such a way that our attention is drawn back to God. So, for example, I give up sweets and Sudoku. Ideally, every time I crave sweets or think about completing a Sudoku, I will pause to remember what Christ has done for me. Then, come Easter, I can eat sweets again, return to my puzzles, and generally celebrate God’s abundance with renewed gratitude!
A third duty is reading and meditating on God’s Holy Word. Join us in reading the New Testament, even if it is just for Lent. Or go to one of our Bible studies—the Men’s group on Monday evenings or the parish Bible Study on Fridays at 1:00. It is not exactly the same thing, but come to our Lent Formation Program on “The Way of Love.” Or just read and study on your own. Again the point is to take some time to come to know God better.
If you take Lent seriously, if you strive to have a Holy Lent, you will not enjoy every minute of it. But you will grow a little closer to God. You will know a little more joy. You will experience a little bit of new life. And that is a very good reason to give it a try!!
Fr. Harvey Hill
This blog is my occasional reflections on life, God, Christian faith, and the Church. I hope you find it helpful!