Growing up Baptist left me almost as ignorant of this sacred season as my granddaughter, Maggie. When she was four years old and a recent comer with Jud and me to the Episcopal church, Maggie joined a Sunday School class of beginners. When asked, “Does anyone know what Lent is?”, she waved her hand and answered, “It’s what’s in my baby sister’s belly button.”
This season, which begins with reminders of our own mortality, ashes to ashes, dust to dust, and our need to reflect and repent, comes as a gift. A few years ago, when I first did Lent, I gave up chocolate. God must have snickered. Can you imagine Seattle, the home of Starbucks, if everyone gave up caffeine. Wars have been started for less.
All that to say, Lent’s become more meaningful to me over time. Since Jud died, I’ve become part of a reading group that meets and reads something significant together during the seasons of Advent and Lent. We met this morning, just two of us this time, reading and discussing N.T. Wright’s Lent for Everyone.
Wright took us back to Bethlehem, where some of us were last Sunday in Sunday School at Christ Church. He reminded us of the absurdity of shepherds,” instead of leading their sheep, were being led, told to go and find something–someone— who’s lying in a feeding-trough…the great Shepherd himself has been born! The King is here, and you are his sheep, his people! Come and find him.” (page 6)
Lent is a holy time, approximately 1/10th of a year, a tithe of time to be offered to the One who holds time and us in His hands and heart every day of our lives. Time to “Come and find him.”
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