Lent 2009

Learn to savor how good the Lord is; happy are those who take refuge in him. (Psalm 38:4, NAB)

We are now in the season of Lent. Many people stop a behavior during Lent as a spiritual discipline. Lent is a penitential season in preparation for Easter. Giving up something is an ascetical practice. In a way, Lent is our way of doing New Year’s resolutions.

But when we examine the historical roots of Lent, which means spring in Anglo-Saxon German or Old English, we find that it was originally a period of preparing people for baptism. It was a time of intense instruction.

As we recovered the ancient tradition of Lent, we began to encourage people to take something on rather than give something up or do both. Taking something on can mean a more intense spiritual practice or studying. It is the latter reason Our Saviour has a history of adding a Lenten class.

This year, our Lenten class is The Practice of Prayer, based on the book of the same name. (See the article elsewhere in this newsletter.) It is held on Thursday evenings at 7 PM following our traditional Lenten soup suppers. So one could take something on by doing this study, increase his or her spiritual practice, and give up a regular dinner with soup. The bases would be loaded – adding a spiritual practice, studying, and giving something up! It is now up to you to step up to the plate and hit the home run.

God’s love for us is unbounded. One way we can respond to this great love is learn more about God and God’s ways. Some of this learning we can do at home. But some can only be done in community. We can hear the voices of writers and we can hear and respond to those voices from the voices of our friends, adding our own voice. That can be a lot of talking! But it also requires a lot of listening.

I am required to see to it that the people of this parish receive Christian education. I just need to see that it is done, whether it is by me or someone else. Since teaching is one of my gifts, I enjoy leading classes for you.

Remember the words of the Psalmist above. What will you take on this Lent? What new thing will you learn?

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