Ash Wednesday: The Beginning of Lent

February 18th, 2015 | John Chandler

Flying-bird-tattoos5699I am fairly new to the practice of Lent. It wasn’t part of my upbringing and my first experience of it was during my senior year of college. I decided to give up beer.

I figured denying myself something I regularly enjoyed would be good form for Lent. I mean that’s what Lent is, after all? I had made it about two weeks before I caved in when one of my all-time favorite breweries had a pop-up tent at a free SxSw show.

The next year I gave up red meat. I thought the health benefits would be an added motivational bonus, and I did make it that year. However, it was more of a result of my ability to drop it into casual conversation rather than a desire to show love and appreciation to God.

So as Lent is now here I ask myself, Why did I give up those things and was there any benefit to it? Do I want to do something similar this year or should I try something new?

51smSyPMDVL._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_Madeleine L’Engle is one of my favorite authors. Her most famous work, A Wrinkle In Time, is a children’s series that everyone should read. However, my favorite book of hers is The Irrational Season. This journal mirrors the church calendar, and it has been a great help to me as I am learning how to be a Liturgy Curator.

I love the way she writes because I feel like she brings a deeply creative and relatable theology to the table. She shares her experiences in a way that encourages and challenges, with a hope that whatever you may find in her writing will be helpful.

As an introduction to this blog series, I would like to share a quote from her book with you:

“Perhaps what I am supposed to do about Lent is to think about some of the things I have put off thinking about. The Beatitudes, for example. They have seemed to make demands on me that I’m not sure I want made.”

And so again I ask myself, what does Lent look like for me? Should I just stick to what I know or would I be willing to try something new? I think if I stick to what I know at best I will avoid some heartburn and while that is appealing I think there is more to gain.

So I think I will engage my mind with The Beatitudes. In this process maybe I will be asked to sacrifice something in my life, or maybe they will demand a new practice of me. Or just possibly the results are still yet to be discovered. Whatever happens my heart is open. I hope I am ready.

As we move forward in the series, I will be making a short reflection post this coming Sunday. The Beatitude of my choice will be the first, “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of God”.

In addition to myself I have invited several voices from AMS community to join this Lent exercise. So stay tuned, I think we have a lot to learn from each other.

As we begin the Lent season, let Mrs. L’Engle send you off with an encouragement-

“Around Crosswicks the sere fields need their blanket of snow to prepare the ground for growing. In my heart, I am too eager for Easter. But, like the winter fields, my heart needs the snows of Lent.”

See you throughout the week.