I did not grow up with the tradition of Lent. I came to it when I moved into the United Church of Christ in the 1980s. Since then I have learned layers of meaning for the season and traditions of Lent.
Lent – derived from the Old English word meaning “spring season” and the Old German word meaning “lengthening of days.
Lent – a penitential season of 40 days in the Christian liturgical calendar; in the 2nd, 3rd and 4th century church, a time of final examination and catechesis for those wishing to join the faith at the Easter Vigil.
Lent – a time of fasting, study and penitence; also a season to explore new avenues of prayer.
Lent – a faith journey from Ash Wednesday to Holy Thursday; a time to travel wilderness paths of spiritual reflection; a time to go deeper putting our faith roots down into the soil of God’s love.
Lent – a time ....
To pray you open your whole self
To sky, to earth, to sun, to moon
To one whole voice that is you.
And know there is more
That you can’t see, can’t hear;
Can’t know except in moments
Steadily growing, and in languages
That aren’t always sound but other
Circles of motion. ...
From “Eagle Poem” by Joy Harjo
The proverbial Lenten journey is what we make of it each year. It can be a time to add a spiritual discipline to your life in a search for spiritual renewal. It can be a time to abstain from an activity in order to have more time for just Being. It can be a preparation time for the new life of spring, a time to plant seeds literally and metaphorically. A time to till the earth, spread compost and start the garden as a spiritual action. It’s a time for listening in new ways to our souls, to God’s wisdom that lives within us as well as in scripture and tradition.
I invite you to plunge into Lent this year through Plymouth’s worship services, through spiritual growth classes and retreats, through deepening relationships in Christian fellowship. Check out:
Above all this Lent find a way to call your spirit back from aimless wandering. Call your spirit to an intentional journey following Jesus the pioneer and model of our faith in God.
... Turn off that cellphone, computer, and remote control.
Open the door, then close it behind you.
Take a breath offered by friendly winds. ... Give it back with gratitude. ...
Call your spirit back. It may be caught in corners and creases of shame, judgment, and human abuse.
You must call in a way that your spirit will want to return.
Speak to it as you would to a beloved child.
Welcome your spirit back from its wandering. ...
From “Calling Your Spirit Back From Wandering the Earth in Human Feet” by Joy Harjo
With you all on the journey,
The Rev. Jane Anne Ferguson, Associate, Minister, is a writer, storyteller, and contributor to Feasting on the Word, a popular biblical commentary. She is also the writer of sermon-stories.com, a lectionary-based story-commentary series. Learn more about Jane Ann here.