A Season of Endless Possibilities

This is my first Lent as your priest and there’s something you need to know: I love Lent. I love it not because I’m a glutton for punishment, or because I like to preach against sinful behavior and its consequences. I do those things because it’s my job, not because I enjoy it. And for the record, I have a really hard time with fasting, one of the pillars of Lent. It’s not that I don’t think it’s spiritually beneficial—I do—it’s because I love food so much. No, I love Lent because I believe in it. I believe it’s a season of endless possibilities.

The prayer book calls Lent “a holy season,” and I think that’s right. However, aren’t all seasons holy? Sure, but Lent is special. It’s our annual opportunity to journey into the desert with Jesus, to rid ourselves of distractions and hear God’s voice afresh. For me, this almost always involves finding more time for prayer and quiet. I don’t have a lot of give and take in my life: the kids need to be at school by 7:45, dinner is at 6:00 (or else). So, what I often choose to do is to cut out the twenty or so minutes I spend checking the headlines. Don’t worry. The important news will find you; you don’t need to find it. In the evenings, my murder mystery is replaced with a work of theology or poetry—things I love all year long, but maybe don’t get pride of place on the table beside my chair because they require more concentration.

Adjusting your daily schedule to include more quiet will give you a perfectly acceptable Lent. Come Easter, your heart will be better prepared to celebrate. However, maybe this year God is calling you to have an outstanding Lent? 40 days is enough time to cement even something remarkable. Maybe this is finally the time when you examine your relationship with alcohol? Maybe you spend this holy season preparing for and attempting a genuine reconciliation with someone you want back in your life? Maybe this Lent is the time you finally forgive an unforgivable betrayal? The other person may not wish to engage with you, but you could finally be free of all those chains around your neck. Wouldn’t that be lovely? That would be a truly outstanding Lent.

As always, Sarah and I are happy to help with a “Lent consult,” or to meet for the sacrament of reconciliation, which you can find in The Book of Common Prayer beginning on page 446. I wish you every blessing during this holy season.

The Rev. Clarke French