Lent. It’s an odd word, not exactly one that shows up in the vernacular of our everyday.
“Hey, how’s it going?” “Good, just coming up with a plan for Lent. How are you?”
Definitely not the material for chatter with co-workers or neighbors.
Those of us who are church goers or who were raised in liturgical traditions are familiar with the concept even though the word rarely shows up in our culture. A 40 day period that marks the journey from Ash Wednesday to Easter Sunday. After the chaos of Mardi Gras and Fat Tuesday, millions of faithful Roman Catholics and Protestants begin a six week time of reflection and renewal that is most typically marked by “giving up something.” Whether no meat on Fridays or fasting on other days.
In the past I’ve used this calendar space to try and shed a few pounds. I’ve tried to give up chocolate or sweets, even caffeine. Maybe if I quite binging on chocolate for Jesus I’d stick to it?
But millions of us are also understandably clueless about the concept and why to bother with it. The word itself simply refers to the lengthening of days, of the coming of spring. Over the centuries we use words like “spring” to explain, well, Spring. So Lent has been relegated to this sort of confusing church practice.
But, if we demystify Lent a bit, even via this rapid fire blog post. I wonder if we all might consider together taking a Lenten Journey alongside one another? All religious tradition and confusion aside, Lent is simply an opportunity to reflect on that which weighs us down and hinders us. A chance to shed negative ideas, habits, desires that keep us from living as our truest selves. To being our best for God and one another. The idea is that if we empty ourselves, slow down a bit and reflect honestly on the chaos of life that we will find there are places where we can improve.
Maybe cutting the gossip, lowering the yelling at home, or yes, even cutting out the caffeine if it makes us a jumpy spastic mess.
This year, the high point of Lent (Good Friday) lands on the same day as Earth Day (April 22). A gorgeous coincidence. What if this year we all considered how a few smarter ecological moves could take us to six weeks of improving our lives and the lives of those around us? What if one little eco-idea a week transformed you into a smarter citizen of this planet come April? What if you challenged your family to grab reusable containers for lunch or to walk to school, to finally remember those tote bags? Or even deeper, what if you considered a spending freeze for a week, or two, or six? Considered how your resources can improve the lives of others?
All worth exploring! The season of Lent officially begins on Wednesday, March 9th. Starting on that day I will be offering weekly tips, ideas, product reviews and Scripture passages to help us all live better together on this fragile planet. No politics, no hidden agenda, just ideas to live with more grace and purpose. And, as my rallying cry often suggests, this is all GUILT FREE. Do what you can and celebrate that!
Of course there will be guest interviews and give aways too. Would you take some time over the next few weeks and consider joining the journey? Look for more details to unfold and don’t worry, you don’t have to give up the chocolate or the coffee! (just consider earth friendly versions of each . . . . .) Would love any thoughts, ideas, or recommendations you have as we get started! Feel free to share them here.